Anti-doping theme a weekend focus in Japan: Keep Rugby Clean


The partisan crowd, nearly to a man, woman and child decked out in the hooped red and white of Japan, rose to their feet in expectation every time Matsushima got the ball.

"You understand it's part and parcel of rugby, especially at World Cups, because you've only 31 players you can't afford to hang on to somebody and hope they will be alright in a week or two because you don't have the luxury of time. They made life as tough as possible for us but we got there in the end".

Samoa conceded five kickable penalties resulting in 12 points for Japan thanks to flyhalf Yu Tamura, who also skewed one of his attempts.

Fleet-footed "Ferrari" Kotaro Matsushima showed his class as he emerged from the shadow of fellow wing Lomano Lemeki to score a crucial late try against Samoa and put Japan in control of Rugby World Cup Pool A on Saturday.

The hosts are undefeated in the tournament.

Japan made Samoa pay for a yellow card to flanker TJ Ioane when Lafaele - born in Samoa - scored the first try near the corner in the first half to give the Japanese enough of an advantage to cling to.

Japan's cause, it has to be said, was also helped by some decisions that went in their favor.

"We were on the end of another call when you're hit in the chest and I don't know what you can do anymore in this game, to be honest".

"Whenever we're training Joe likes to push the intensity and really build it which is obviously class for us as players, you get that intensity that's nearly like a match", said Stockdale, of Schmidt.

It's not certain what Japan will need to do yet as Scotland still has to play its penultimate game, against underdog Russian Federation on Wednesday.

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"So for us we want to keep all our best players out here, and it would be a real shame if something happened".

Japan - Tries: Timothy Lafaele, Kazuki Himeno, Kenki Fukuoka, Kotaro Matsushima.

Being "nilled" was tough on Russian Federation, who again posed problems as they had done in 30-10 and 34-9 defeats by Japan and Samoa respectively.

"After that Scotland game we still have belief in what we're trying to do".

But head coach Schmidt still believes Sexton will be ready for Ireland's final Pool A encounter in Fukuoka on Saturday, October 12.

He added: 'I think there were more things that pleased me than disappointed me definitely.

"We knew there were 65 handling errors in the two games previously and we maybe tried to make 65 ourselves". "But first we have to make sure we get the job done and win the game".

"We know what's going to come and that it will be a big, loud crowd for Japan and that's something we can not control", said the reserve prop.

"It gets more hard as things go on and I've voiced my opinion around that a few times but.there's a whole bunch of things we need to look at in the future". Japan lead Pool A with 14 points, three clear of Ireland. It was important to get five points last night and now it's important that we take a couple of days just to regenerate, to refresh everyone a little bit after what has been a fairly hectic schedule in a five-day turnaround.