Joseph praises never-say-die Japan after last-gasp bonus-point win

Ireland's captain's run at Mihazaki Stadium

Ireland's captain's run at Mihazaki Stadium

If Ireland draw with Samoa and Scotland lost to Japan, Ireland will qualify.

"They've had some tough times but they're the sorts of things that usually bring the team tight together, so we're expecting a really physical and tough game".

Samoa upped the pressure and eventually grabbed a try when Taefu went over and converted to take his tally for the match to 19 points.

"We know what's going to come", Samoa replacement prop Paul Alo-Emile said. "It's building up to be a real ripper".

A capacity crowd is expected at the City of Toyota Stadium for the Pool A clash which should go a long way to determining how the highly competitive pool plays out. "It is not just one or two players that we rely on".

Maximum points for Scotland in their match with Russian Federation, a bonus-point win for Scotland in their match with Japan with the host nations picking up a losing bonus-point and of course, Ireland beating Samoa without a bonus-point.

The gap between the two remained the same until the 74th minute after Kazuki Himeno and Henry Taefu traded tries before the Brave Blossoms sealed the game with two late tries from Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima.

Matsushima also had a chance to showcase his defensive qualities, putting in a bone-cracking tackle to snuff out a promising Samoan attack after Kane Le'aupepe had surged upfield from a restart.

If Ireland secure a bonus-point win against Samoa, they will qualify for the knockout stages.

It was Samoa coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson who mentioned poker in Saturday's post-match press conference, but if you were a gambling man, it is Japan coach Jamie Joseph who you would want to go to Las Vegas with. That's what actually happened, and I'm glad I was able to get the ball over the line and score the try. No-one thought we could beat Ireland and now they think we can win every game we play.

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Wing Kotaro Matsushima crossed in the corner to seal the five-point haul as the hosts moved to the top of Pool A and set up what will likely be a winner-takes-all tussle with Scotland in Yokohama, where Japan can seal a first-ever World Cup quarter-final place, on October 13.

"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.

"We showed incredible belief and worked to the very end".

"The game was well balanced". We did well to turn around after getting a good hiding from Scotland.

"I feel a little bit relieved", Joseph told reporters.

The top two teams qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

"It's unbelievable", he said.

A Japan fan looks on during the Rugby World Cup game against Samoa.

"It's going to be a big crowd, it's going to be a loud crowd cheering for Japan".

Samoa began with a comfortable 34-9 win over Russian Federation but were hammered 34-0 by Scotland in their next game.

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