Sensational Japan roll over Samoa in World Cup Pool A clash

Johnny Sexton of Ireland kicks to score the 2nd conversion during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Ireland and Russia

Johnny Sexton of Ireland kicks to score the 2nd conversion during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Ireland and Russia

Despite fears that crowds might be sparse in Japan, not a traditional rugby nation, fans have turned out in their droves, packing stadiums even for games not involving tournament heavyweights.

In the second week of the 2019 Rugby World Cup specifically, the tournament's social video content achieved more than nine times as many views compared to the same week four years ago.

"We'll get into the Samoa game on Monday and we'll make sure that we keep improving".

Straying into unlikely territory, there remains a theoretic outcome in which Ireland, who are now second in Pool A on 11 points, lose without taking anything to Samoa and Scotland could pass them if they lose to Japan with two bonus points and join the hosts in the quarter-finals.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph lavished praise on his side following their 38-19 bonus-point win over Samoa at City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

The fly-half converted first-half tries scored by Rob Kearney, Peter O'Mahony and Rhys Ruddock but the World Player of the Year went off at half-time and was later seen icing his leg.

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"Whenever you're off he's a bit more relaxed and you're able to chill out a bit more, I think he gets a really good balance in his coaching style".

'I think Joey would have been okay to play, but Conor Murray was very keen to play.

Ireland's back row CJ Stander (L) stiff arms Russia's prop Valery Morozov during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Ireland and Russian Federation at the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe on October 3, 2019. But that's what we knew would happen if we won Test matches.

Japan - Tries: Timothy Lafaele, Kazuki Himeno, Kenki Fukuoka, Kotaro Matsushima.

Samoa's decision to go for a scrum on their own line in the dying minutes rather than a quick tap-and-go backfired big time and saw Japan eventually pick up a bonus point that could prove so crucial given how tight Pool A is.

The knockout rounds may be beyond reach but there is still plenty for the Manu to play for in their final pool match against Ireland on Saturday, with the top three placed teams in each group earning automatic qualification to Rugby World Cup 2023.

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"We know what's going to come and that it will be a big, loud crowd for Japan and that's something we can not control", said the reserve prop. "I think we'll give him the best chance to get it right".

Japan has three wins from three and only a game against Scotland between it and the last eight now.

Samoa have beaten Russian Federation but lost to Scotland so far and so know a win against the hosts is imperative if they are to progress from the pool.

"It's probably a game we should be winning but that doesn't mean we go out there and throw the ball around and expect to win". Japan leads Pool A with 14 points, three clear of Ireland.

"We knew there were 65 handling errors in the two games previously and we maybe tried to make 65 ourselves". Before we arrived out here there was a lot being made - and a lot being pushed at us - about how we apparently don't start competitions well.

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