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Coach Jones hoping Japan blossom against big-hitting Samoa

Published 02/10/2015

Japan head coach Eddie Jones is still targeting a World Cup quarter-final slot
Japan head coach Eddie Jones is still targeting a World Cup quarter-final slot

Eddie Jones has warned his Japan side they need to be wary of Samoa landing a knock-out punch which could floor their World Cup ambitions.

The tournament's surprise packages still harbour hopes of reaching the quarter-finals despite failing to follow up their upset victory over South Africa against Scotland.

The Brave Blossoms had just four days rest between stunning the world with their last-gasp triumph over Heyneke Meyer's men and then shipping five tries to the Scots.

But with the luxury of a 10-day break ahead of their next clash against the Pacific Islanders at stadium:mk, Jones wants his men to stay on track for the knock-out rounds by picking up win number two.

However, the former Australia boss is wary of the physical Samoans who out-muscle and out-stretch his team in almost every division.

Jones said: "We are playing one of the biggest teams and in every position we are giving height and weight away.

"When we started this programme four years ago, we worked out how we could overcome this, get over the disadvantages, so tomorrow is going to be a massive game.

"We need to move the ball around. They want to wrestle and we don't want to wrestle. They want to put us up against the ropes, we want to be coming jib-and-jab style, moving. It's as simple as that. We want to win points with jabs, Samoa want to win with knock-outs.

"Samoa are very much a momentum team. We need to minimise the momentum that they get from their set-piece then conversely when it is our set-piece we need equally quick ball. Samoa have a really big pack so the scrum will be crucial.

"We need to make sure we stay in it for the whole 80 minutes. There's not going to be much in it."

Jones added: "Before the tournament our target was to reach the quarter-finals and everyone thought that was a joke and now we have put ourselves in a position to do that. If we do that, we can win even more fans in Japan. Twenty million people watched the Scotland game. That's the population of Australia - including all the kangaroos."

Samoa assistant coach Alama Ieremia knows neutrals around the world will want the Japanese to march on again.

But he insists his players have not let their concentration slip as they too look to keep their qualification hopes alive after registering a victory over the United States before a resurgent Springboks line-up lashed out in their second fixture.

Ieremia said: "Japan are the darlings of world rugby at the moment. For us it's a like a final and we've prepared like that.

"They have a lot of experience in a formidable forward pack. They have stuck to the style that Eddie has moulded."

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