Japan continue World Cup dream

Akihito Yamada scores for Japan

The Cherry Blossoms go second in Pool B and within touching distance of the quarter-finals after winning their third World Cup game 5-26 and second at this year’s tournament.

A penalty try and winger Akihito Yamada’s five-pointer helped see off Samoa. Fullback and Man-of-the-Match Ayumu Goromaru kicked 16 points as Eddie Jones’ side capped another superb display.

Samoa hit back late through centre Paul Perez but it was too little too late for the Pacific Islanders, who have now lost all three games that they have played and cannot reach the knock-out stages.

Ayumu Goromaru scored 16 points to keep Japan in the race for a historic appearance in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

The 29-year-old, who starred in the epic win over South Africa two weeks ago, became the leading tournament points scorer with 45.

The Japanese also scored two tries, a penalty try and one from wing Akihito Yamada. Samoa paid for their lack of discipline losing three players to the sin bin in the game.

The win at Milton Keynes takes the Japanese — who before this World Cup had won just one match and that back in 1991 — onto eight points ahead of their final game with United States next weekend.

Table-toppers Scotland — who have 10 points from two matches — face the Springboks, who have seven points, later on Saturday.

Goromaru looked to have given Japan a dream start as he went over in the left hand corner but linesman Wayne Barnes signalled for a forward pass leaving coach Eddie Jones fuming.

South Africa referee Craig Joubert, who had been playing an advantage anyway, awarded the Japanese a penalty instead and Goromaru shrugged off the disappointment to slot over the penalty.

Samoa were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when No8 Failfili Levave was sin-binned for making no attempt to tackle hooker Shota Horie simply bending his shoulder into the Japanese player and sending him flying.

Joubert read the riot act to Samoan captain Ofisa Treviranus about conceding penalties and the South African wielded another yellow card when prop Sakaria Taulafo took out a Japanese player in the air — leaving the Samoans with just 13 men on the pitch.

The Pacific islanders defended stoically as the Japanese pounded away at them. The Asian champions eventually came away with a penalty try which Goromaru converted for 10-0 after 24 minutes.

Goromaru added another three points as a result of a Samoan going offside to make it 13-0 against a ragged opponent who were in danger of being out of the game by half-time.

Indeed they were as Akihito Yamada did a good impression of a spinning top completely fooling Alesana Tuilagi and went in in the far right hand corner after good work by the pack for his fifth try in five Tests this year.

Goromaru — whose points tally took him past South African Morne Steyn on the all-time Test scorers — made the half-time cup of tea taste even sweeter as he converted brilliantly from the touchline for 20-0.

The Japanese fullback added another three points to make it 23-0 early in the second-half

Japan skipper Michael Leitch pulled off a try-saving tackle seconds later, as Samoa finally put together an incisive move, bringing down scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i.

Yamada’s day ended prematurely as his brave effort at tackling Paul Perez ended with him knocked out on the pitch.

It did not distract the Japanese from their gameplan with Goromaru converting another penalty for 26-0.

Finally, though, the Samoans put a thrilling and fluent passing move together ending in Perez going over in the far left hand corner.

Tusi Pisi’s conversion hit the post to leave Japan leading 26-5 and the ‘Brave Blossoms’ comfortably saw out the rest of the game for another superb win.

Final Score Samoa 5 (0) Japan 26 (20)



Tries – Perez
Pen –
Con –
Drop –

Tries – Penalty Try, Yamada
Pen – Goromaru (4)
Con – Goromaru (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
: Craig Joubert (RSA)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (Eng), Stuart Berry (RSA)
TMO: Ben Skeen (NZL)



15 Tim Nanai-Williams; 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Failfili Levave, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Ofisa Treviranus (captain), 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.

Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Vavae Tuilagi, 21 Vavao Afemai, 22 Mike Stanley, 23 Rey Lee-Lo.


15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Male Sau, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Kotaro Matsushima, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18  Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Justin Ives, 20 Amanaki Mafi, 21 Hendrik Tui, 22 Atsushi Hiwasa, 23 Karne Hesketh.

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