Samoa was last in the Top 10 before the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and have been down as low as 17th in the intervening years.
Japan lost former captain and number eight Michael Leitch to a red card for a high tackle on So’otala Fa’aso’o with 10 minutes to go in the first half in the weekend.
Samoa struggled to capitalise and the scores were tied at 10-10 at half-time. Four second-half penalties from Seungshin Lee kept the Brave Blossoms in the game throughout. Samoa playing its first game of the year with players from across the globe managed to snip the win by outscoring Japan three tries to one.
Jonathan Taumateine and Tumua Manu crossed in the second half after Alamanda Motuga had struck just before half-time, while Christian Lealiifano’s three conversions and penalty on debut proved crucial to the final outcome.
With 1.43 points awarded to them for the narrow victory, Samoa will climb over Georgia and also claim 10th place off Japan who will fall to 12th, their lowest position since November 2016.
Manu Samoa will face Fiji this weekend at Apia Park with a 3pm kick off. Tickets range from $10 tala general admission to side stands of $50 tala and $75 for the centre stand.
Tickets are available from Vodafone, SCB and the Lakapi Samoa Head Office at Tuanaimato.
Current Standings Men’s 15s