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Good morning rugby fans and welcome along to our second liveblog of the day as we turn our attention to Ireland’s pool and the meeting of hosts Japan and Samoa from Toyota City.

Jamie Joseph’s side will look to continue their march towards the quarter-finals having won their opening two games in Pool A, including that famous victory over Ireland last time out.

A third straight win here would see them return to the summit and put them in prime position to advance to the knockout stages as pool winners, but any slip-up against Samoa would open the door for Ireland to top the Pool A standings.

Kick-off is fast approaching at 11.30am and we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.

The home fans are out in colour at Toyota City ahead of this crunch clash.

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama

japan-daily-life Source: Shuji Kajiyama

TEAM NEWS: Jamie Joseph has made three changes to his starting XV that defeated Ireland, with Atsushi Sakate, Wimpie van der Walt and Michael Leitch all coming into the Japan side and Shota Horie, Luke Thompson and Amanaki Mafi dropping out.

Samoa, meanwhile, have made six changes to their starting line-up from their 34-0 loss to Scotland in game two.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Lomano Lemeki, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne (captain), Michael Leitch, James Moore, Wimpie van der Walt, Jiwon Koo, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki.

Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ah See Tuala, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow, Ulupano Seuteni, Dwayne Polataivao; Jack Lam (captain), TJ Ioane, Chris Vui, Kane Le’aupepe, Piula Faasalele, Michael Alaalatoa, Seilala Lam, Jordan Lay.

Samoa have won 11 of the 15 previous Test matches between these nations but the Brave Blossoms have emerged victorious from their most recent encounters, in Tokyo in 2014 and at the 2015 World Cup.

Which way do you see this one going?

Poll Results:

Japan (212)
Samoa (78)

The teams are out at a packed Toyota Stadium and now that we’ve had the anthems, it’s time for Samoa to perform their Siva Tau war dance. 

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama


1 mins — A quick look at the current state of play before this game, with Ireland top of Pool A after their bonus-point win over Russia, but the hosts will be eyeing a return to the summit here.

Screenshot 2019-10-05 at 11.32.40 Source: World Rugby


2 mins – Blistering start from Japan here and with a penalty advantage, they very nearly cut through inside the opening exchanges but Lafaele just takes his eyes off the ball having been sent hurtling through the gap. A missed chance there but we’re going back for the penalty.


3 mins — Penalty! Japan 3-0 Samoa (Tamura)

Perfect start for Japan. Referee Jaco Peyper brings it back for that penalty in front of the posts and Ya Tamura’s first strike off the tee is sweet and the home side are up and running. 


5 mins – This one promises to be a real cracker and Japan have come flying out of the blocks. Lemeki is set free down the left wing but his route to the line is cut off brilliantly by Taefu, with Samoa captain Jack Lam then arriving to steal possession back for his side. 


7 mins — Penalty! Japan 6-0 Samoa (Tamura)

The combination of quick ball and sharp attacking lines is causing Samoa all sorts of problems already and they’re caught offside again, with Michael Leitch telling his out-half he’s going for the posts. Tamura duly obliges with another well-struck effort to double Japan’s lead.


8 mins – It has been an electric start from Japan but Samoa have responded in kind there and they desperately needed that. From the kick-off, hooker Lam gets over the ball and wins the penalty for his side, with Taefu set to have a shot at the posts.


9 mins — Penalty! Japan 6-3 Samoa (Taefu)

A welcome settler for Samoa as Taefu gets them on the board off the tee. 


japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Japan head coach Jamie Joseph will be pleased with his side's start. Source: Shuji Kajiyama


13 mins – Samoa have managed to weather the initial storm and they’ve settled into the contest nicely now, with prime attacking position coming off a well-worked lineout and carry from blindside Le’aupepe. With a penalty advantage, Taefu drops back into the pocket but his drop-goal attempt never threatened the posts.


15 mins — Penalty! Japan 6-6 Samoa (Taefu)

We’re level at the City of Toyota Stadium as Taefu makes no mistake after Leitch was penalised by Peyper. 


17 mins -- First sight of Matsushima this evening as he collects a poor kick and glides over the turf and through three Samoan defenders, before a last-ditch ankle tap prevents the flying winger from going any further. 


20 mins – With 28 points to his name, Yu Tamura is now the tournament’s leading points scorer.

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama


22 mins – Japan have made a number of half-breaks but it’s just not sticking for Joseph’s side at the moment, with Samoa working hard in defence to shut the door and frustrate the hosts. Tamura is going to have another shot at goal here, though. 


23 mins — Penalty! Japan 9-6 Samoa (Tamura)

Three from three for Japan’s out-half and they’re back in the lead.


24 mins – Sloppy from Japan off the restart as they knock on and Samoa look to strike off turnover ball, before Leiua knocks on just as space was opening up for the Pacific Islanders. 


25 mins — Yellow! TJ Ioane (Samoa)

As Japan looked to run it out of their own 22, TJ Ioane stupidly hits his man late and after consulting with the TMO, Peyper correctly sends the Samoan flanker to the bin.

That was so, so needless from Ioane as Samoa’s indiscipline again costs them — that’s their fifth yellow card at this World Cup. 

Flag 30Mins

28 mins — TRY! Japan 16-6 Samoa (Lafaele)

And Japan take full advantage! Leitch produces a trademark steal and Matsushima doesn’t need a second invitation to run at the Samoan defence, as the winger ducks and dodges his way up towards the whitewash. Quick ball allows the hosts to spread it wide and with numbers out left, Lafaele crashes over. A superb team try. 


33 mins – Samoa have an opportunity to reply instantly but Taefu snatches at his long-range penalty effort and it goes way left. This has been a brilliant half of rugby. 


33 mins – Another stoppage in play here as Peyper checks for potential foul play. Nanai-Williams sends an up and under into the night sky but is caught late by Moore, who had come in to try and charge down the kick.

The officials agree that it is a penalty but nothing more, and Taefu is going to have another shot at the posts.


35 mins — Penalty! Japan 16-9 Samoa (Taefu)

A much better strike from Taefu as he slots over the long-range penalty. Samoa are back to 15, too, with Ioane returning from the bin. 


Half-time! Japan 16-9 Samoa

A thoroughly entertaining 40 minutes of rugby comes to an end with Japan heading for the sheds leading by seven. Jamie Joseph’s side came flying out of the blocks but haven’t had it all their own way, with Samoa bringing plenty of physicality and intent to the contest.

Their indiscipline cost them again, however, as Ioane’s 10 minutes in the bin for an illegal hit allowed Japan pull clear through Timothy Lafaele’s try, while out-half Tamura has scored 11 points off the tee. 


42 mins – Samoa have made a lively start to this second period and having probed dangerously, win another penalty at the breakdown in front of the posts. Seilala Lam again doing brilliantly on the ground.


45 mins — Japan 16-12 Samoa (Taefu)

Samoa have made a lively start to this second period and are rewarded with points on the board through Taefu’s boot. They’re back to within four points.


47 mins – Tamura has the chance to hit back straight away after Samoa and Ioane were penalised off the maul but, from wide on the right, the Japanese out-half misses his first of the evening. It remains 16-12. 


50 mins – Japan not having it all their own way but that’s a brilliant pressure-relieving steal from Himeno and this should be a lot more straightforward for Tamura to get the hosts on the board in this second half.


51 mins — Penalty! Japan 19-12 Samoa (Tamura)

No mistake this time from Tamura. 

Flag 55Mins

54 mins — TRY! Japan 26-12 Samoa (Himeno)

The place goes absolutely wild!! From an attacking lineout on the left, the Japanese pack execute the perfect rolling maul to bulldoze their way towards, and over, the line with number eight Himeno applying the finishing touch. 

57 mins – Japan have their second try and they’re now thinking about that bonus-point score, which could be crucial in the race for the quarter-finals. The damage was done by the forwards on that occasion and the hosts have a considerable buffer now.


58 mins – Back come Samoa as they search for a route back into this contest. They need something big here and the Pacific Islanders have a five-metre scrum — but what a shove from Japan and then Himeno comes in after a Leitch hit to complete the turnover. A huge moment in this game. 

68 mins — Just over 10 minutes to go and Japan are searching for that match-clinching score, with the hosts going through over 10 phases of possession. They continue to probe but James Lay comes up with a big turnover and now it’s Samoa’s turn to counter.

Flag 73Mins

72 mins — TRY! Japan 26-19 Samoa (Taefu)

It’s not over yet! Samoa’s relentless pressure eventually pays off as their forwards do the damage and then it’s spread right for Taefu to spin over from close-range. He adds the extras and this one is going down to the wire at Toyota City!


74 mins – We’re in for a nervy finish here!


77 mins — TRY! Japan 31-19 Samoa (Fukuoka)

And that should be that! Fukuoka goes over in the right corner to seal the deal for Japan and Jamie Joseph’s side continue to march towards the quarter-finals — and they’re now within striking distance of the crucial bonus point.


79 mins – And here come Japan in search of the fourth try but Samoa hold up the rolling maul and get the scrum. It has been another fantastic occasion for Japanese rugby.

80 mins — Oh my word. It appears Japan’s opportunity for a fourth is lost but they win the free-kick because the Samoan feed is crooked..and they’ve now got a prime attacking platform to launch from here. 



80 mins – A huge moment here in Pool A…


80 mins — TRY! Japan 36-19 Samoa (Matsushima)

And it’s there! The clock is red but it’s that man Matsushima who gets over for the fourth try! Incredible scenes inside this stadium. 


Full-time! Japan 38-19 Samoa

What a win for the hosts! Another glorious night for Japanese rugby as they return to the top of Pool A with three wins from three. 

japan-rugby-wcup-japan-samoa Source: Shuji Kajiyama

We’re off to catch our breath after a brilliant finish at the City of Toyota Stadium. Our match report is here, while we’ll have plenty of reaction to come throughout the afternoon. Until next time, goodbye!

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Ryan Bailey


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