Japan appear poised for their strongest performance in a Rugby World Cup to date in 2015, following up an impressive qualification campaign with a resounding 33-14 victory over leading Pacific Island nation Samoa in Tokyo overnight.
Currently sitting 13th on the IRB’s World Rankings as of May 26th, the Japanese secured a record-breaking seventh consecutive victory in beating 8th placed Samoa and are set to continue their meteoric rise towards England 2015 with a tour of North America slated for June.
Explosive winger Yoshikazu Fujita crashed over for two impressive first half tries, complimented by 18 points from the boot of fullback Ayumu Goromaru as the Cherry Blossoms took control of a shocked Samoan outfit.
Coach Eddie Jones was understandably pleased with his side’s ability to control the break down and hold their nerve against a highly rated opponent, but told AFP there is still room for improvement ahead of June’s tour.
“We made hard work of it but the great thing is we created a lot of opportunities” Joes said following the memorable victory.
“I really liked the attitude of the players today and obviously we can improve.
“We’ve broken the record with seven wins in a row that’s a fantastic achievement. Our target next week is to make it eight.”
Claiming a record-breaking 82nd cap for his national side in the victory, lock forward Hitoshi Ono led the way for his team in both attack and defence, and is precisely the quality of player needed for success at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“Every game he puts his body on the line. He’s the model Japanese rugby forward player. He’ll have 82 beers tonight, and that’s a light night for him” Jones added.
Missing several notable players who currently ply their trade in the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby tournament, Samoa coach Stephen Betham praised the Japanese for their impressive build in form on the way to the game’s headline tournament.
“It was a big test for us as we build for the World Cup. We learn from our mistakes and move on.” Betham said.
“Japan work well as a unit. The have made big strides in the last couple of years.”
While continually building in form, class and reputation, Japan is currently given little hope of success in the 2014 Rugby World Cup; offered at generous $1,501 for success at Ladbrokes.com.au.