JAPAN claimed another clinical victory and a bonus point in their 38 – 19 victory over Samoa as they moved closer to securing a quarter-final spot in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Kotaro Matsushima scored the host nations fourth try in the dying seconds of the match to earn Japan a bonus point. The victory also put the men from the Land of the Rising Sun at the top of the log in Pool A.
The World Cup hosts claimed a shock victory over Pool A favourites Ireland last time out, but Samoa put up a good fight in Toyota City and looked like denying the Brave Blossoms the maximum haul until Matsushima touched down with the clock having passed 80 minutes.
Timothy Lafaele, Kazuki Himeno and Kenki Fukuoka also scored for Japan, while Henry Taefu accounted for all of Samoa’s points. The boot of Yu Tamura fired Japan into a 6-0 lead before Taefu got Samoa on the board from the tee after 10 minutes.
Japan capitalised on their numerical advantage as Lafaele touched down following a fantastic run from Matsushima, Tamura adding the extras after TJ Ioane was sin-binned for a late tackle
The result sends Japan three points clear of Ireland at the summit and ends their opponents’ slim hopes of a place in the last eight.
Japan will qualify for the knock-out round if Scotland fail to win their last two matches with the two teams still to play each other.