Beat Samoa or bust for Japan at 2015 Rugby World Cup
Battered giantkillers Japan are now under orders from coach Eddie Jones to beat Samoa to keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.
Gloucester: Battered giantkillers Japan are now under orders from coach Eddie Jones to beat Samoa to keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.
Jones set the new target after the `Brave Blossoms` -- heros of a stunning 34-32 win over South Africa -- came brutally back to earth with a 45-10 hammering by Scotland on Wednesday.
Whilst Japan gave as good as they got from the initially one-dimensional Scots, their energy faded after an hour in the Pool B match.
Jones, who will leave the Japan post to take over at the South African Super Rugby franchise Western Stormers post the World Cup, would not use the Japan`s restricted four day rest from the South Africa win as an excuse.
However, he highlighted the added significance of the Samoan match in Milton Keynes on October 3 in his bid to guide the 2019 World Cup hosts to their first ever appearance in the knockout stages.
"If we can knock Samoa off in 10 days then we have a terrrific chance, if we don`t then we`re cooked," said Jones.
Samoa`s match with South Africa on Saturday could also be key to Japan`s fortunes.
"The Samoans could come out of the match with the Springboks bruised and battered. That match will be a bit like a Ultimate Fighting Championship fight with a fair of bit of Springbok power coming forward at the Samoans.
"For us well our boys need a break. You read the books on physiology and they say you need six days to recover after exercise like the boys had against the Springboks.
"Of course by that token the games should be spread out more.
"However, because of TV they aren`t. What to do about it? I dont know I`m not an administrator, thank goodness. I`m just a silly rugby coach."
Jones, who guided Australia to the 2003 World Cup final and was an adviser to the Springboks side that won the 2007 edition, is also looking to the South Africans to do him a favour.
He needs them to beat both Samoa and Scotland, ensuring the top two places remain wide open going into Japan`s final pool game against the United States.
Jones was not certain the Scots are capable of beating the `Boks.
"I think South Africa will really bounce," said Jones, who believes South African scrum-half du Preez will be their key man.
"I don`t think Scotland will get enough set piece plays against them.
"However, the Scots really impressed me, they kept in there and their recovery in defence was excellent.
"They`ve got a good young team coming through."
The Scots, like the Japanese, face having to back up in a matter of days against the United States -- who lost their opener last Sunday to Samoa -- but captain and man of the match Greig Laidlaw said he had no concerns over fatigue taking hold.
"I think this Scottish side is the fittest we have ever been," said Laidlaw.
"I believe we are in a good place fitness wise."