Japan kept up their momentum at the Rugby World Cup with a 38-19 victory over Samoa to move to the top of Pool A. Having shocked the rugby world by beating Ireland last time out, the Brave Blossoms secured a bonus-point victory over Samoa in Toyota to set up a final pool clash with Scotland for a place in the quarter-finals.
The nations shared six penalties early in the contest but it was the hosts that scored the first try as Timothy Lafaele went over. Japan led 16-9 at the interval but tries by Kazuki Himeno and Kenki Fukuoka after the resumption settled the nerves before Kotaro Matsushima sealed the late bonus point with their fourth five-pointer.
Henry Taefu scored a consolation try for Steve Jackson’s side but there was only ever going to be one winner. The result has heaped more pressure on Scotland, who must now beat the men in red and white and Russia in their final two games to progress while victory for Japan over the Scots will guarantee the Far East stars a spot in the final eight.