Japan rely on samurai spirit for Argentina decider at Rugby World Cup

  • Japan
  • Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

TOULOSE, France (AFP): For Japan, 'Samurai Time' arrived in the final minute of their World Cup group D match against Samoa.

Now they need to sustain that collective effort for 80 minutes against Argentina to reach the quarter-finals.

Captain Kazuki Himeno said he used the words to inspire his team, as Samoa, playing with 14, fought back from 17 points down with two late tries in Toulouse on Thursday.

Japan held their nerve to win 28-22.

"We have a phrase, 'Samurai time', which reminds us of our courage and mentality, so that we can all be on the same page," said Himeno.

"We managed to do that during a tough period and defended well.

"Before the game I said, 'we are coming to the death zone but we are not alone'.

"We did everything as a team. We have a strong bond so there's nothing to be afraid of, that's my message."

Samoa are all but eliminated, Japan's victory ensured pool-topping England advanced.

Japan stayed second.

Argentina will draw level on points with them if they secure a bonus-point win over Chile on Saturday.

The Pumas move on to face Japan in a winner takes all duel in Nantes on Sunday week.

"That's our Grand Final, isn't it?" said Japan head coach Jamie Joseph.

"We have got an opportunity to play a tier one team we have played a few times before.

"All the guys are going to be really excited for that."

- 'History for Japan' - Defence coach John Mitchell said at a press conference on Friday the samurai time attitude had been important as Japan built momentum after losing their opener to England.

"I think 'samurai time' has been talked about by the players as an example of language working," the former New Zealand head coach said.

"We came out of that England game where we wanted to win in an arm-wrestle. It was important we acted with the qualities of a samurai during that period and made sure that we worked together."

He said he was not worried about Samoa's two late tries.

"They tried to attack us round the ruck toward the end and got some momentum. Our first defender tackle will need some work. But it's an easy problem to fix," said Mitchell.

"I didn't think we managed that situation too badly.

"We didn't get enough points where we had an advantage. You trust you'll get there, and the boys did."

Japan's back row shared the three tries with No.8 Himeno touching down from a maul after flankers Pieter Labuschagne and Michael Leitch had scored in the first half.

Leitch said both sides will be nervy come the game in Nantes.

"There is a lot of pressure on the Argentina game, not just for us but them as well," said Leitch.

"If we win, it is a new history for Japan, being able to win overseas and get to the next stage."

Rikiya Matsuda moved to 37 points, although his missed conversion from Himeno's try ended a succesful streak of 13 straight kicks at goal.

"Set-piece is going to be key against Argentina," said the fly-half.

"As backs, we want to make sure we control the game and not put our forwards under pressure. So the kicking game will be key and I want to put the pressure back on them." - AFP

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Japan , Rugby , BIg match , Argentina , Decider


Next In Aseanplus News

Australian authorities investigating fake UN drug mule scam
Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms in Singapore urged to visit clinics to ease hospital bed crunch
Indonesia's main airport on high alert to prevent Covid-19 entry
US military spaceplane poised for 7th launch, first atop SpaceX Falcon Heavy
Illegal laughing gas, well known as the 'happy gas' on open sale in Thailand's Pattaya
Covid-19 forces closure of 100-plus Myanmar garment factories; revenue plummets by 40%
Taiwanese singer Vivian Hsu and husband divorce after 9 years of marriage
New edition of 'Tintin' comic sports new cover, addresses racism allegation
China says moves on Philippine ships in South China Sea 'professional, restrained'
Court of Appeal wants to look at classified report on missing activist in chambers

Others Also Read