Samoa head into Thursday's Rugby World Cup game with Japan knowing it will need a team effort to beat the Brave Blossoms in what many are calling a do-or-die game.

"We have a good, experienced pack, but would I say that is the key to winning? No, we still have 23 players on the field," prop Paul Alo-Emile said Wednesday after their captain's run at Stadium de Toulouse.

"The forwards need to be switched on. Make sure we are concentrating on every aspect of the game. I do trust our forward pack, but we all need to be switched on and fully engaged in what we are doing."

Alo-Emile led the Pacific islanders when they beat Japan 24-22 in Sapporo in July, and there are 11 players in all, including eight in the Samoa starting XV, that played that day.

Samoa national team players practice in Toulouse, France, on Sept. 27, 2023, ahead of a Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Japan. (Kyodo)

But assistant coach Andrew Goodman was keen to point out that match had little bearing on Thursday's encounter.

"The game in July was altered by a red card (to Japan's Michael Leitch)," he said.

"Discipline will be important for both sides. It's been a big factor at the World Cup. We will need to be disciplined to limit Japan's opportunities inside our own half."

Goodman said while Kazuki Himeno and Leitch were big players that "represented the spirit of Japan," the Brave Blossoms were a threat from 1 to 23. And like his Japan counterparts, he stressed the need for his team, which shows four changes to the side that started their 19-10 loss to Argentina, to be accurate with ball in hand.

"We need to execute our basic skills. If we can do that, we'll have a good day at the office."

As for whether the game was the do-or-die clash many have dubbed, Goodman said it was not quite the way the Samoans were looking at things.

"It is exciting how wide open the pool is with all the results that have gone on in the first couple of weeks, but do-or-die is not really a terminology we have used," he said.

"We've talked about a performance we can be proud of against Japan (coming off the loss to Argentina)."

England, whose remaining game is against Samoa, top Pool D with 14 points. Samoa and Japan have five points each, while Argentina, Japan's final opponent, have four ahead of their fixture this weekend against Chile.