WATCH: Japan captain red carded for highly dangerous hit against Samoa
Japan captain Michael Leitch is not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination, but all players make mistakes from time to time. Saturday was a day he made a mistake against Samoa.
The No8 was red carded by Mathieu Raynal in the first half, and the Frenchman had absolutely no choice following a tackle straight to the head of counterpart So’otala Fa’aso’o.
Fa’aso’o did dip slightly before contact, but that was not enough mitigation to lower the punishment from a red to a yellow. Being the classy customer he is though, Leitch apologised immediately after being dismissed. The red did cost his side though, as Samoa picked up a tight 24-22 victory at the Sapporo Dome in the Pacific Nations Cup.
The next time the two sides will meet will be in the World Cup, where both sides are in Pool D alongside England, Argentina and Chile.
Take a look at the tackle:
— Darren (@SaffasRugby) July 22, 2023
Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Dylan Riley, 12 Shogo Nakano, 11 Jone Naikabula, 10 Seungsin Lee, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Kazuki Himeno (cc), 6 Jack Cornelsen, 5 Amato Fakatava, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Gu, 2 Atsushi Sakate (cc), 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Shota Fukui, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Tomoki Osada
Manu Samoa: 15 Danny Toala, 14 Neria Foma’i, 13 Ulupano Seuteni, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Christan Leali’iafano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Alamanda Motuga, 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Michael Curry, 4 Brian Alainu’uese, 3 Paul Alo-Emile (c), 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Ray Nivia, 17 Tietie Tuimauga, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu, 20 Miracle Fai’ilagi, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Martini Talapusi, 23 Ed Fidow