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Japan's rise a World Cup challenge for Manu

Pacific Nations Cup champions Japan are expected to be a tough opponent for the Manu Samoa at the Rugby World Cup.

The two nations are both in Pool A for the tournament, and Samoa will be underdogs against the hosting Brave Blossoms.

Manu coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson said Japan are doing really well at the moment.

“They’ve been in camp for a while and it shows.”

He said their strong level of conditioning means they are playing the game at speed:

“I’ve been really impressed with their ability to have quick ruck ball, and their ability to hold onto the ball for long periods of play.”

Vaeluaga said discipline will be key when they play during the World Cup because of first five Yu Tamura’s place-kicking.

He also said Amanaki Mafi has stood out for the Brave Blossoms:

“He’s a strong powerful ball carrier at number eight.”

Vaeluaga also noted the influence of openside flanker Michael Leitch:

“He’s a great captain and he brings a wealth of experience.”

“Although it’s the Pacific Nations Cup at the moment, in the back of our minds is the teams that we’re playing at the Rugby World Cup.”

He said the humidity in Japan will make things tough as well:

“There’ll be measures that we’ll put in place as well when we start to train, how do we re-enact the heat in Japan.”

The Manu Samoa play Japan in their third World Cup pool match on October 6th at 12:30 am Samoan time.

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