News Home » Top Stories » Rugby World Cup: Bonus-point win keeps host Japan on course for quarterfinals

Around the World

Rugby World Cup: Bonus-point win keeps host Japan on course for quarterfinals

Pieter Labuschagne on Japan's surprising RWC success

(CNN)Host Japan withstood a resolute challenge from Samoa to secure a crucial bonus-point victory in a 38-19 victory in their Pool A match at the City of Toyota Stadium Saturday.

Kotaro Matsushima's fourth and final try in the dying seconds wrapped up a third straight win for Japan, with the extra point vital in its historic bid to reach the quarterfinals of Rugby's global showpiece for the first time.

Samoa, battling to keep its own hopes alive, played a full part in a compelling clash and a late converted try from Henry Taefu set up a nailbiting finish as his side pulled to within seven points with the clock counting down.

But Kenki Fukuoka and Matsushima responded for the Brave Blossoms, who will go into a final Pool A match against Scotland next weekend on the crest of a wave and with fanatical home support.

Coming off the back of a famous victory over World No.2 Ireland last weekend, expectations were sky-high among the capacity crowd and the boot of Yu Tamura kept his side ahead with three first half penalties, Taefu responding with two three-pointers of his own.

TJ Ioane was sin-binned for a late tackle, reducing Samoa to 14 men for 10 minutes, and it proved costly as Timothy Lafaele touched down for Japan's opening try.

Taefu, who scored all Samoa's points, kept his side in it at 16-9 down at the half with his third penalty and a further successful kick after the break saw the deficit reduced to just three points.

Kazuki Himeno's try for Japan, converted by Tamura, gave the host breathing space again until Taefu finished off a clever move with six minutes remaining to put the pressure back on.

It was finally relieved when Fukuoka scored Japan's third try and the stage was then set for the inspirational Matsushima to put the icing on the cake with his fourth try of the tournament.

England reaches quarterfinals

England secured its passage to the quarterfinals of the competition with a convincing 39-10 win over 14-man Argentina in Tokyo.

England fully exploited the advantage after the first half red card for Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini to run in six tries and gain the bonus-point victory.

Benjamin Urdapilleta put the Pumas ahead early after a tremendous surge led to a penalty, but winger Jonny May soon darted over to put England 5-3 ahead.

Lavanini's ill-judged high tackle on England captain Owen Farrell saw him dispatched by referee Nigel Owens and with it went Argentina's hopes of the victory it needed to keep hopes of qualification alive.

Ben Youngs of England celebrates scoring his side's third try with his teammate Manu Tuilagi during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group C game between England and Argentina at Tokyo Stadium.

Elliot Daly and Ben Youngs crossed for tries before the break and despite Farrell having a rare off day with his kicking, England was in total control.

The bonus point was assured when fly half George Ford ran in England's fourth try before Argentina bravely responded with a converted try from Matias Moroni.

The returning Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie added further converted tries for Eddie Jones' men as its opponent tired in the closing minutes.

"It was scruffy at times, but we had a decent measure of control and pressure told in the end," said Farrell.

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said the loss of Lavanini proved crucial: "We couldn't build momentum and we were a guy less," he said.

England, top of Pool C with three successive bonus point wins, plays Six Nations rivals France next weekend to decide who tops a difficult group.

Australia thrashes Uruguay

Earlier, England's likely quarterfinal opponent Australia beat Uruguay 45-10, running in seven tries despite being reduced to 14 men for two periods of the first half.

Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto spent spells in the sin-bin after being yellow-carded for high tackles in the encounter in the Oita Stadium.

But it did not prevent the bonus-point victory which puts the Wallabies ahead of Fiji after three games in Pool D, led by Wales, which is unbeaten.

Adam Ashley-Cooper of Australia thanks the crowd after his side took a decisive step towards the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup with a 45-10 win over Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group D game at Oita Stadium.

Teenage wing Jordan Petaia, Australia's youngest ever World Cup player, scored a try in the victory, while Tevita Kuridrani and Dane Haylett-Petty crossed twice apiece.

Despite the convincing victory, Australia coach Michael Cheika bemoaned his side's lack of discipline.

"Giving away as many penalties as we did today made it hard for ourselves, particularly having 14 men on the field for 20 minutes.

"It's hard, it makes life hard, it takes a lot of energy out of the tank," he said.