I had an idea that Japan might be a team to watch in this World Cup and so bought a ticket to watch them play in Milton Keynes. Their opposition Samoa have a fair few top class players amongst their ranks, I was expecting a balanced hard fought match, especially after the Samoan performance I’d seen against South Africa.
Before I go into the game a little I’m going to have to have something of a rant – I apologise for that. I’d been to the MK Stadium a couple of times so knew it wasn’t an easy place to access. Earlier in the year I went to see Northampton Saints v Saracens and has chosen to Park and Ride – that resulted in a fairly long walk and a fairly long queue. So this time I thought I’d opt for Park and Walk.
Now, call me old fashioned but I would have thought that would constitute less of a walk! I imagine that was what the families with fairly young children thought too – but no, I recorded the walk back (which was clearly the same as the walk there) it was 2.3 Miles!
So, a total of 4.6 Miles (pleased I can add considering my day job!) for Park and Walk! To my mind that’s simply ridiculous, I was highly relieved that I’d added flat shoes to my lady like back pack when I left the car! I think you can tell I was less than impressed!
I can’t quite get to grips with the categories for the tickets for this World Cup, I had Category B and was in the corner by the back post on the touch line, another moan, not the best of views.
And now to the game, we were treated to the Samoan War Dance the Siva Tau, led by a very familiar face Alesana Tuliagi after the anthems. It was clear that the Japanese team had captured the imagination of the majority of the neutrals in the stadium, someone somewhere had been doing a roaring trade in bandana’s with the rising sun emblazoned!
I think it’s fair to say that Japan started the match at 100 miles an hour, they were clearly determined to secure their 2nd win of the tournament after their amazing win against South Africa!
The statistics tell the story of the game – Japan had 59% of the possession and 64% of the territory – Samoa gave away 19 penalties! They just couldn’t seem to get any of the basics right at any time during the match, they were down to 13 men after Faifili Levave saw yellow for a high tackle before prop Sakaria Taulafo was sent to the bin by Craig Joubert for challenging Goromaru in the air.
Japan took full advantage of their numerical superiority and were awarded a penalty try as Samoa failed to deal with a scrum close to their line.
Akihito Yamada added a 2nd try bouncing off Alesana Tuilagi, he spun round and finished spectacularly in the corner to the delight of the crowd.
Japan had a big, powerful yet mobile pack, I was particularly impressed with their captain Michael Leitch – he was born in New Zealand going to Japan to study when he was 15.
Japan through Ayumu Goromaru scored 4 of the penalties conceded by Samoa, he also converted both of the tries. Samoa scored a consolation try through Paul Perez, but were well beaten with the final score finishing on Japan 26 Samoa 5.
Japan’s second win albeit without a bonus point has left their group open, with Scotland in second only 2 points ahead of them. Scotland face a Samoan team who may be searching for some pride, Japan play the USA, it’s going to be an interesting few days.
The walk back – although still 2.3 miles was easier on my poor feet with flat shoes on, the queues to leave the car park weren’t too painful. The same can’t be said for the evening’s viewing!
- Cost of Ticket £65.00