Japan's batteries recharged for Samoa showdown, says Luke Thompson

Japan have recovered from playing South Africa and Scotland over a punishing five-day period and lock Luke Thompson believes that they will will be firing on all cylinders when they tackle Samoa on Saturday.

The Brave Blossoms face Samoa at Milton Keynes in a match that will make or break their quarter-final chances. After stunning South Africa in their opening game in Pool B, Japan played Scotland just four days later and faded after an hour, slipping to a 45-10 defeat.

Eddie Jones’ men, however, have recuperated over the past six days in the quiet of Warwick, where the team have been able to focus on preparing for the Samoa game.

"We'll be fresh going out there,” the 34-year-old Thompson, a veteran of three World Cups, said. “We don't get too many days off but we had a good day off on Sunday.

"Eddie keeps us pretty busy. We have a lot of training and not a whole lot of time in between. The boys have popped into Warwick here and there for coffee but that's about it. We're not here to sightsee. We're not going to get lost in the big city here."

Thompson (pictured above) said that opening the tournament with a win - something Japan did not achieve in their last two World Cups - has made a tremendous difference to the team's mindset going into the latter half of the pool phase. The last Pool B game for the RWC 2019 hosts is against USA on 11 October  in Gloucester.

"There's probably a bit more belief now. The last two started with a loss so it changes everything. We've had a win and a loss but we still have a chance of the quarter-finals.

"We've always been a team with great potential but we've never played to that potential. We played to our potential in the South Africa game and got a good result, and we need to that twice more."