Samoa rise to 10th in world rankings after win in Japan

Samoa's Tumua Manu (R) celebrates after scoring a try against Japan in Sapporo. Photo: RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP

Manu Samoa have returned to the top 10 of the World Rugby men’s rankings for the first time in nearly eight years after their 24-22 win over Japan on Saturday.

With 1.43 points awarded for the win, Samoa go above Georgia and Japan who fall to 12th, their lowest position since November 2016.

The nation hasn’t been in that position since the eve of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and have been as low as 17th in the intervening years.

But their victory over upcoming pool rivals Japan continued Seilala Mapusua’s honeymoon period as coach, which has produced seven wins and one loss.

Fiji are ranked 13th, Tonga 15th.

Meanwhile, Manu Samoa have booked in another pre-Rugby World Cup warm up match, with a game against the Barbarians in France on August 18.

The Barbarians will be coached by former Samoa captain Pat Lam.

Samoa Rugby says the match will give Mapusua and his coaching staff the opportunity to test out their world cup team before they face Ireland in another pre-world cup game.

Fijians aim to keep flying

The Flying Fijians will be looking for a second win in the Pacific Nations Cup series clash when they face Manu Samoa in Apia on Saturday.

The team defeated Tonga 36-20 last Saturday.

Head coach Simon Raiwalui said he was happy with that victory but believes Samoa will be tougher at home.

The two teams battle at Apia Park at 12pm local time.

‘Ikale Tahi lament mistakes

Tonga rugby head coach Toutai Kefu believes his side will have to play better against Japan to win Saturday’s Pacific Nations Cup Test match.

Kefu lamented his team’s mistakes against the Flying Fijians in Lautoka, blaming those for his team’s loss.

He said Japan will be tough at home, as they showed in their narrow loss to Manu Samoa.

Kefu and the ‘Ikale Tahi flew into Tokyo on Sunday to prepare for this weekend’s Test.