TOKYO, 9 Oct - Japanese wingers have found plenty of joy out wide so far in their three pool games.

Kotaro Matsushima sits joint-top of the try-scoring chart with four and Kenki Fukuoka has two, which includes a flashing go-ahead try against Ireland in Shizuoka.

But still searching for his debut World Cup try is Lomano Lemeki, pictured above, who has started in all the Japan matches so far and was the man who put Fukuoka through for the Brave Blossom's third try against Samoa to earn player of the match honours.

"I heard the (player of the match) announcement five minutes from time and was surprised myself," said the unassuming 30-year-old from Auckland.

"I did have lots of ball carries (but) I couldn't get the try I promised my kids. Of course, I wanted to get one myself, but it's all right whoever gets it."

Lemeki played for Japan's sevens side at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and is eyeing another shot in Tokyo next summer.

But right now he says he is enjoying the healthy competition for Japan's RWC 2019 starting berths and is keen to end the drought at the earliest opportunity.


He hopes that will be against Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday.

"An unfortunate injury to Kenki (against South Africa on 6 September) gave me the chance, but the battle for the starting spot has been fierce," he said. "Luckily I started all three, but Kenki has scored two, both off the bench.

"The run of no-tries is still on, so I'll do the best I can (to stop it)."

While earmarking scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, fly-half Finn Russell and full-back Stuart Hogg as Scotland's danger men, Lemeki said the match could be a defining moment in the history of Japanese rugby.

"In terms of where we need to be, we're getting better but probably not where we can be in terms of the big countries; the All Blacks, Australia, the European teams," he said.

"We're still on the rise, but time will tell this weekend; if we do progress through this weekend that'll help us get into the top eight.

"Normally we've been winning a few good games and once we play top four teams, we've got brushed aside.

"So time will tell where we are at the moment."

RNS mn/wh/djk