Rugby World Cup 2023 – Japan’s back against the wall after its defeat against England: “Against Samoa it’s either make or break”

The Japanese came back from their defeat against England 34-12. Messy play and technical waste, the Japanese will have to get back up against Samoa to hope for qualification.

The race for the quarter-final in Group D risks being complicated for Japan. Following this 34-12 defeat against the English who dominated with their kicking gameJamie Joseph’s men may have regrets: “We made too many mistakes every time we created a chance. They are a team used to high level. We are disappointed”, says the coach. With only 34% possession, beaten in field occupation, the Japanese had difficulty revealing their game: “That’s the pressure England put on us. We didn’t capitalize on our chances. And a team like England punishes you with their follow-on kicks whenever they can.

Kazuki Himeno’s teammates failed to score a try, 12 points planted thanks to Rikiya Matsuda’s penalties: “The content of the match corresponded to what we expected. We stuck to our plan and we were not surprised”confides the captain.

However, facing a XV de la Rose not necessarily at the top level, the Japanese had difficulty in defense. For winger Kotaro Matsushima, the English gain was really destabilizing: “We thought they were going to kick in our backcourt. It’s pretty hard to defend, to defend the whole field because they kicked left and right.”

Still chances to qualify

Japan has an obligation to win its next match (against Samoa, September 28 at the Toulouse Stadium) to hope to advance to the quarter-finals. Author of a good start in the first period, Nippon winger Lomano Lemeki is aware of the importance of this meeting. “It’s going to be another big game. It’s either make or break. We have 12 days off, so we’re going to take a break from rugby for two days to recharge ourselves psychologically. We’ll come back and I’m sure Browny (the assistant coach Tony Brown) will have a plan in mind for us.”

Pool D promises suspense until the end. Apart from England first with 9 points, the battle for second place is on. Samoa and the Japanese are tied (5 points). If they win their next meeting, Argentina could join the dance.

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