Rugby World Cup

Japan’s blindside flanker Michael Leitch in action at the World Cup. Phot: AFP

RUGBY WORLD CUP | Live scoring: Japan v Samoa

Keep track of all the live scoring as Japan tackle Samoa in what should be an entertaining Rugby World Cup pool game on Thursday night.

Rugby World Cup

Japan’s blindside flanker Michael Leitch in action at the World Cup. Phot: AFP

There’s a lot at stake when Japan face Samoa at Stadium de Toulouse on Thursday. Two sides’ quarter-final hopes are on the line in a ferociously tight Pool D, in which a single point separates second from fourth, with a third nation watching in the wings.

Both Japan and Samoa come into this match with a win, a loss, and five points from two matches, with the latter second in the standings on points difference.

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Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph has made two changes to his starting XV from their 34-12 loss against England, with Dylan Riley replacing Tomoki Osada in midfield and Lomano Lemeki coming in for Semisi Masiresa at full-back. 

Opposite number Seilala Mapusua has made four changes to his starting XV from the 19-10 defeat to Argentina. Taleni Seu comes into the back-row after an impressive 26 minutes off the bench last week, Sa Jordan Taufua replaces Steven Luatua at eight, Alai D’Angelo Leuila partners Tumua Manu in the centre, and Ed Fidow replaces Nigel Ah-Wong on the wing.

Not that either side’s destiny is entirely in their hands. Argentina, sitting one point behind in Pool D and with a game in hand on both Japan and Samoa after this match, will be paying close attention. They won’t want to miss out on the quarter-finals for a second tournament in a row.

And, given how close the race for the second quarter-final spot behind England is, third place – and its automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia – becomes just as important.

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FIXTURE: Japan v Samoa

GROUND: Stadium de Toulouse (33,103)

KICK-OFF: 21:00 local time (GMT+2)

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JAPAN Lomano Lemeki; Kotaro Matsushima, Dylan Riley, Ryoto Nakamura, Jone Naikabula; Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare; Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie, Jiwon Gu; Jack Cornelsen, Amato Fakatava; Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne, Kazuki Himeno (captain)

Replacements: Atsushi Sakate, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Warner Dearns, Kanji Shimokawa, Naoto Saito, Seungsin Lee, Tomoki Osada 

SAMOA Duncan Paia’aua; Ed Fidow, Tumua Manu, Alai D’Angelo Leuila, Ben Lam; Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine; James Lay, Seilala Lam, Paul Alo-Emile; Chris Vui (captain), Theo McFarland; Taleni Junior Agaese Seu, Fritz Lee, Sa Jordan Taufua

Replacements: Sama Malolo, Jordan Lay, Michael Alaalatoa, Steven Luatua, Alamanda Motuga, Melani Matavao, Neria Fomai, Danny Toala

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