Japan rekindled the belief and the fire that helped them stun South Africa to crush rudderless and ragged Samoa 26-5 on 3 October and stay in contention for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
A dominant performance from Eddie Jones' side left the Brave Blossoms with hope of reaching the last eight for the first time as they head into their final Pool B match against the United States on 11 October.
Refreshed from a 10-day break after defeat by Scotland, Japan showed that their opening victory over the Springboks was no flash in the pan, with their forwards more than a match for the big but disorganised Samoans.
Jones said he had got his team selection wrong when they lined up to face the Scots four days after causing the biggest upset in World Cup history and he named the most experienced Japan side ever for their third pool match. The changes paid off. With quick recycled ball and smooth handling in the backline another feature of their play, Japan deservedly led 20-0 at halftime.
Samoa had to go for broke after the break but there was little change in momentum. Japan were all over their frustrated opponents in the set piece, used the ball more intelligently and Goromaru, the leading scorer in this tournament, stepped up when asked to slot over the penalties to put the game out of sight. Japanese Head Coach Eddie Jones said it was his side's dominance of the set-piece that induced the poor discipline of the Samoans, who conceded 17 penalties during the game.
"For me it was our set-piece domianance. Being able to control the set-piece against a team like Samoa puts you in the right position to win the game. We dominated territorily and possession-wise in the first half, and it was our ability to win the ball cleanly in the line-out and the scrum and to induce penalties in those areas," said Jones at a news conference after the game.
If Japan secure a victory, and a bonus point, against the United States next weekend then Jones and his men will achieve his aim of qualifying for the quarter-finals, the first time in their history. Jones said there was more to come from his men in the match with the USA in Gloucester.
"We still haven't played as well as we can at the world cup, and that was the disappointing thing. We probably left two tries out there today. We have got the USA game next and we are looking forward to playing the best game of our world cup at that USA game," said Jones.