Rugby: Japan hold off Samoa comeback -- Sep 29

Japan remain firmly in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals after taking advantage of Ben Lam's red card and eventually seeing off a defiant Samoa side - sealing England’s passage into the knockout stages as pool winners in the process.

Tries from Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne and Kazuki Himeno moved Japan up into second spot in the pool and teed up what is increasingly looking like a shootout for a place in the quarter-finals with Argentina next week.

Samoa may lament how Ben Lam’s yellow card for a dreadful tackle on Labuschagne was upgraded to red while the Japan hooker Shota Horie returned to the field after his high hit on Duncan Paia’aua, but that is the lottery that competing teams must contend with at this tournament. To their credit they battled manfully and ensured a nervous finish for Japan.

Both sides came into the match with one win - against Chile - and five points from two matches, but with Argentina lurking behind them. ...continue reading