Giant-slayers Japan still hungry for more after Samoa win

Prolific points scorer Ayumu Goromaru believes the Brave Blossoms, who play the USA next Sunday in their final pool match, have more to offer

MILTON KEYNES, 4 Oct – To date at Rugby World Cup 2015, Japan have doubled their wins from all previous tournaments combined, and look more than capable of producing a third victory when they finish the pool phase next weekend against USA.

The Brave Blossoms have become everyone’s second-favourite team, and no one will criticise them if they fail to attain their goal of reaching the quarter-finals.

Yet despite their history-making run at RWC 2015, what Japan have achieved is not good enough for them.

"We’ve set our standards high," said Ayumu Goromaru (pictured), who kicked 16 points in Saturday's 26-5 win over Samoa and, with 45 points, was the tournament's top scorer after the completion of matches of Saturday 3 October. "I’m nowhere near satisfied."

Set-piece dominance

Japan coach Eddie Jones echoed his full-back’s sentiments.

"We shut Samoa out of the game with our set-piece dominance, and our work in and around the ruck was first class. We managed to get a 20-0 lead at half-time and it was always going to be difficult for them to chase that lead.

"We still haven’t played as well as we can and that was the disappointing thing. We probably left two tries out there today. We’ve got the USA game next and we’re looking forward to playing the best game of our World Cup."

Japan kept an undisciplined Samoa team off the scoreboard for more than an hour before Paul Perez went over for their only points of the game.


Samoa had two men sin-binned at one point in the first half but even at 15 on 15, Japan, fully recharged after a nine-day break since their defeat by Scotland, were clinical and never relinquished control.

There was little doubt among the sell-out 29,019 crowd at Stadium MK who were the better side on the afternoon, Samoa coach Stephen Betham and fly-half Tusi Pisi among them.

"I don’t think they surprised us. They brought what we expected. They have really caught up with the rest of the world," Betham said.

Pisi, who is based in Japan with the Suntory Sungoliath club, said: "Their self-belief has really come along over the years. Any team coached by Eddie Jones is going to do well. They played the full 80 minutes today and deserved to win."

RNS sk/co/pg