Rugby-Samoa rue poor discipline in World Cup defeat to Japan


  • Rugby
  • Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool D - Japan v Samoa - Stadium Municipal de Toulouse, Toulouse, France - September 28, 2023 Samoa's Jonathan Taumateine and Christian Leali'ifano in action with Japan's Lomano Lemeki REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Poor discipline and a lack of execution were behind Samoa’s 28-22 loss to Japan in their Rugby World Cup Pool D clash on Thursday, which leaves their quarter-final hopes hanging by a thread.

Only an extraordinary set of results, including a bonus-point win over already qualified England in their final pool game on Oct. 7, will see Samoa advance, but the reality is they will likely be playing for pride in Lille.

They can have few complaints too. Samoa conceded 12 penalties against Japan, and received a yellow card for scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine and a red after 47 minutes for wing Ben Lam following a dangerous tackle.

"I am proud of the guys. The effort and everything they put into that game I could not ask for more," head coach Seilala Mapusua said.

"It is tough to be down with the red card and it is unfortunate for Ben Lam, Japan exploited the advantage and they won."

Mapusua admitted his side’s discipline was the major factor in the loss.

"It is very concerning. We have got to be technically correct (in the tackle) otherwise we will be punished. We have seen that in the last three games, but not just our games, throughout the competition.

"We’ll take the next few days to recover well, we have a few injuries. Then we will worry about England."

Captain Fritz Lee said his side failed to look after the ball and turned over too much possession.

"The effort was there, the basics of the game I thought let us down," Lee said.

"Japan were more clinical than us and we had to respect the ball more than we did. Our penalty count did not help us at the end."

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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