'Ferrari' Matsushima puts Japan in driving seat at Rugby World Cup


Jamie Joseph praised Japan's "never-say-die attitude" after two late tries clinched a bonus-point victory over Samoa, leaving them on the brink of creating history.

"We started the Japan game really well, 12-3 it's not a place where we expect to lose a game from". He converted for 26-19 with seven minutes to go. "It's building up to be a real ripper".

"We need to show them the intensity and respect we showed to Samoa and construct a game of rugby".

"Matsushima had the last word, however, when he produced a sharp step inside centre Alapati Leiua and rode the tackle of Pete Cowley for Japan's fourth try deep in extra-time".

Japan summoned one more thrust from its outstanding forwards and won possession back with a free kick.

He more than contained the imposing figure of Jacob Stockdale in that match and, against a physical Samoan side, showed glimpses of both attack and defence before his try secured a bonus-point 38-19 victory in Toyota.

"We were forming strong scrum and there was enough space on the left so I was confident of getting that try", Matsushima said. "I knew that if there was a chance, Fumiaki Tanaka would pass it out to me". Win that, and they go on to play either the All Blacks or South Africa.

"But for the victor of this pool, it doesn't get easier - you play New Zealand or South Africa".

Timothy Lafaele of Japan scores a trys in the first half of the Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Samoa at Toyota Stadium.

"That's what I was thinking of with the last decision there", said Samoa captain Jack Lam, whose team was coming off a 34-0 loss to Scotland just five days earlier.

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"There is not much change, I am doing the same thing". Traditionally, when we get ahead we're a very hard team to stop.

"The game was well balanced".

"Sometimes you've got to just take it on the chin and think, 'We didn't play as well as we can, Japan played very well and put us under a bit of pressure and used their opportunities.' In terms of confidence in this group, I think we're still very assured of what we're capable of and how we get there".

Ticket prices vary widely, from 100,000 yen for the best seats at the final, to 2,000 yen for the cheapest entry to the pool game between United States of America v Tonga.

"I feel that will be the focus point also for us as a team".

Back row Chris Vui said: "It was good having him there telling stories".

"It's unbelievable", he said. Scotland have two games remaining and are on five points with Samoa and Russian Federation already out of contention. "You don't get to go home to your family, or you don't get to meet up with your friends and talk about something completely different".

"It's game-by-game. Enjoy this week again and then get back for what's going to be a really tough game against Scotland". In the warmup you're pretty pumped up.

The coach will give his players the weekend off after they travel to Fukuoka overnight, before the clash with Samoa tomorrow week.