Japan skills coach Riki Flutey said Saturday that a much-reduced error rate had helped the Brave Blossoms to beat Samoa at the Rugby World Cup on Thursday and had put the team in a good place ahead of their winner-takes-all clash with Argentina.

"A lot of games, when we do play with speed, we do tend to have a high error rate, but against Samoa it was 30 percent, which is our best error rate for this year," he said after the team had held a very gentle training session at Stade Ernest Wallon.

"It gives us confidence that we can play with speed, play fast and be really accurate," he responded when asked whether the pace at which Japan can produce good, clean ruck ball can increase even further.

Japan skills coach Riki Flutey (L) speaks at a press conference in Toulouse, France, on Sept. 30, 2023, ahead of Japan's final Rugby World Cup pool game against Argentina on Oct. 8, 2023. (Kyodo)

As to why the team had improved, Flutey put it down to the way the team trains.

"We put a lot of emphasis on being really accurate in our training sessions," he explained.

"The players really understand their roles and responsibilities, particularly in our set piece strikes and set ups. So it makes a big difference when you have players who understand their roles and responsibilities to be able to execute."

And while Flutey would not "give away any game plans in this meeting," it seems clear that playing accurate, quick rugby is what Japan needs to do if they are to beat the Pumas in Nantes on Oct. 8 and advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight tournament.

"We know Argentina are an awesome team. They have one of the best defensive stats in world rugby," the former England and British and Irish Lions center said.

"So we know it will be tough. But we have a lot of confidence coming out of the Samoa game, going into Argentina."

"It's really a final for us. It's given us an opportunity, if we win this game, to go through to the quarterfinals. So we are really focusing on us and how we are going to play the game and put the plans in place over the next few days."

Confidence was a word, Flutey used a lot, especially talking about the contributions of Rikiya Matsuda.

The Japan fly-half came into the tournament on the back of some poor performances -- both in terms of his game management and goal kicking.

And while questions remain about some of his decision-making, his goal kicking has been a major talking point.

"He's only missed one kick for the posts since we have been here," Flutey said.

And as with the reduced error rate, that change in fortune was once again down to how hard the players are working in the training paddock.

"Matsuda trains every day around his skill sets, around his goal kicking, so that also gives a huge amount of confidence. (So now) every kick he knows he can get, he'll nail it."

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