Super Typhoon leaves CNMI unscathed, heads for Japan

Hagibis intensified unusually fast, going from tropical storm to super typhoon in just 18 hours.

However, no serious damage was reported in the Northern Marianas, with the storm leaving the territory last night.

Government offices and some schools reopened today, RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Saipan Mark Rabago said.

"Thankfully, the CNMI was left relatively unscathed by that Super Typhoon. Thank God that except for some banana trees and small trees, we didn't get much damage."

Samoa rip ref after Japan defeat

Scores were tied at 6-all when Samoan flanker TJ Ioane was yellow carded for a late no-arms tackle on Kotaro Matsushima in the 25th minute.

It only took two minutes for the Brave Blossoms to capitalise on their one-man advantage as Samoa-born centre Tim Lafaele crossed for the opening try of the game.

Japan on brink of first quarterfinal with Samoa win

The hosts, who turned the tournament upside down when they beat Ireland last week, moved to 14 points with the win and also secured their third victory in the pool phase for the second successive World Cup.

The loss ended the Pacific islanders' chances of their first place in the knockout phase since 1995, although the grouping is not likely to be decided until Japan play Scotland in Yokohama in the last game of the pool phase on 13 October.

Samoa believe they can beat Brave Blossoms

Samoa have beaten the Brave Blossoms in 11 of their 15 previous matchups but haven't tasted success since 2012.

The Manu were thumped 34-0 by Scotland in their previous match but flanker Chris Vui said there is still a lot of belief in the squad.

"After that Scotland game we still have belief in what we're trying to do - Japan's in our way and it's just another team we've got to get past to make those playoff games - and there's huge belief in this squad," Chris Vui said.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa visits Japan

Tuilaepa met with Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and discussions focused on issues of mutual concern and further strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Samoa established diplomatic relations with Japan in1973.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa expressed to Prime Minister Abe Samoa’s appreciation for the genuine and durable partnerships developed over the years, and acknowledged the mutual cooperation and continued assistance received from the Government of Japan.

Japan to give passenger-cargo ship to Samoa to improve sea transport

Under an agreement reached during Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi's visit to Japan, Tokyo will provide 2.5 billion yen (US$23 million) in grant aid to build the ship.

The visit coincided with the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan. Japan is set to play Samoa on Saturday.

“Enhancing connectivity at sea is a priority area for Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a joint press appearance with Tuilaepa following a meeting at his office.

Rugby hosts Japan stun Ireland 19-12 in massive World Cup upset

The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium with Kenki Fukuoka's second-half try and Yu Tamura's boot beating a side recently ranked number one in the world in a shock to match their victory over twice world champions South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

While they stunned world rugby then, to win this time in front of an uproarious home crowd with so much focus on Asia's first World Cup was arguably more significant.

Manu Samoa fans celebrate first RWC win

It was scary times for fans during a scrappy first half, with Samoa playing with only 13 men on the field for almost 10 minutes after two players received yellow cards. But they pulled it back in the second half to secure a 34-9 win over Russia.

Kalala Carmine was one of the more than 20,000 fans there, having travelled from Christchurch with her family to support Manu Samoa, she will be watching all four of their pool matches.

Before the game, she said her heart was going "up and down, up and down" in anticipation.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan v Russia

The Brave Blossoms caused an almighty stir at the tournament four years ago by defeating giants South Africa 34-32 in one of the biggest shocks in the sport's history.

Agonisingly for the team, led by now England coach Eddie Jones, that effort in Brighton was not quite enough as they became the first team to be eliminated from the pool stage having won three matches.

It was Japan's best performance at a World Cup to date, but Joseph wants his side to dream big.

Japan capable of shocking Ireland, warns O'Driscoll

Tournament hosts in 2019, Japan provided one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history four years ago with a stunning last-gasp 34-32 defeat of the Springboks in their opening fixture.

The Brave Blossoms are in Ireland's pool this time and former star O'Driscoll is wary of another surprise result when they meet on September 28.

He believes the memory of that South Africa win and the backing of the home support could make Japan a dangerous opponent.