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Japan can still believe in a quarter, not Samoa


Japan beat Samoa on Thursday in Toulouse (28-22) and can still hope to win their ticket for the quarter-final of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, unlike the Pacific players.

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Japan is still in the running for a place in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup after its victory against Samoa on Thursday September 28 in Toulouse (28-22), which however eliminates the Pacific players from the race for the first two places in this group D despite the defensive bonus point.

Beaten by the English in their last match (34-12), the “Brave Blossoms” won their second success in the competition after their inaugural victory against Chile (42-12). If first place in the group seems promised to England, Japan will finish second if they beat Argentina on the last day, October 8 in Nantes.

To afford the right to compete in this real round of 16, the Japanese dominated Samoa for the third consecutive time in the World Cup after their successes in 2015 (26-5) and 2019 (38-19).

This success is also important in the race for direct qualification for the next World Cup, in 2027 in Australia, since the first three in each group will be invited directly. If the Samoans fail to beat England – something they have never managed to do in their history – in their last match, they will also give up on this objective.

A Japan finally attractive

More dynamic and enterprising than in their last outings, the Japanese, finally attractive, logically opened the scoring thanks to their second row Pieter Labuschagne (7-0, 13th).

Very to his advantage on the feet since the start of the competition (15/16), the Japanese opening half Rikiya Matsuda then found Michael Leitch with a nice jump for the break try (17-3, 32nd).

Reduced to fourteen in this action after the yellow card of their scrum half Taumateine, the Samoans, playing far too stereotyped, nevertheless returned to the match just before the break by taking advantage of the temporary expulsion of Japanese hooker Horie for a tackle high.

Japanese third row Michael Leitch scores the Brave Blossoms’ 2nd try against Samoa in Toulouse, September 28, 2023 © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Sanctioned for the seventh time, Japan was already above its average of the first two matches (6) and Seilala Lam on a penetrating group then punished the indiscipline of the “Brave Blossoms” (17-8).

It was Captain Himeno, in force, who finally gave his team some breathing room while the Samoans were definitively reduced to fourteen after the yellow card very quickly transformed into a red from Ben Lam for a head tackle (22-8 , 49th).

In numerical superiority, Japan relaxed at the end of the match to leave the defensive bonus to the Samoans. For honor. The Japanese still have one last step to climb. See you on October 8.

With AFP


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