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Pool D ramps up a gear this Thursday night with quarter-final qualification and, crucially, automatic qualification to Rugby World Cup 2027, still very much up for grabs.
Japan take on Samoa at the Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse as two teams with a win and loss apiece meet with second, third and fourth place in the group in contention and their respective Rugby World Cup’s on the line.
Japan vs Samoa match predictions
There is no doubt that both these teams circled this fixture in their calendar prior to the tournament, as the crucial match-up that will decide their competition. It promises to be a tense and close affair with the winner very much uncertain.
Samoa to win the match @ 8/15 (1.5)
Japan are a long way from the team who beat Ireland and Scotland to top the group in their home World Cup in 2019. They didn’t play for over two years due to the pandemic and have come back as a shell of their former selves.
Samoa, on the other hand, have showed promising signs and will edge this match-up as key players like Lee, Taumateine and Seuteni rise to the occasion.
Duncan Paia’aua to score the first try @ 16/1 (17.0)
The Toulon fullback-cum-centre is in scintillating form and had scored three tries in his last three internationals before the game versus Argentina last weekend.
Samoa are no longer a forward dominated side and have the electric backs to run up tries, expect Paia’aua to be lurking for a try from the very first kick.
Samoa vs Japan preview: Samoa to finally fulfil their potential?
The gap between second and fourth in a Rugby World Cup group is massive and has huge permutations, however, in Pool D, it could come down to a single point.
Crucially, whoever finished third in the group, although they narrowly miss out on the quarter-finals, become automatic qualifiers for Rugby World Cup 2027, while fourth-place must qualify.
Japan secured their first ever automatic qualification when they beat Samoa at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Samoa were a promising side entering the tournament, pushing Ireland to the last minute in their final warm-up match. However, they are yet to put it together at Rugby World Cup 2023, succumbing to an underwhelming 19-10 loss to Argentina following an expected 43-10 win over Chile.
Their tournament now hangs in the balance and their two remaining games will either make or break their World Cup. If they beat Japan and upset England, then they will be in their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final since 1999, however, lose both and they are condemned to another fourth-place finish and another stint in the qualifying process for RWC 2027.
Japan have seen a massive regression in their performance since Rugby World Cup 2019, capped off by a 34-12 loss to England where they offered little.
However, similarly to Samoa, after they beat Chile 42-12 in round one they still have a chance to qualify, culminating in their final round matchup against a misfiring Argentina, which could seal a stunning second ever quarter-final. Although, it starts with their game against Samoa and a loss there could condemn them to fourth-place and their first stint in the qualifying process since 2011-2014.
Samoa vs Japan match details
- Date and Time: Thursday 28th September, 20:00 GMT
- Venue: Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse
- Where to Watch: See Here
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