"I think I was a bit too keen at the beginning. I was a bit nervous so I slowly got into the game."
For Timothy Lafale this game was different.
The Japanese midfielder had played 20 test matches prior to last weekend. He'd played against England, France and Ireland. He'd played against the Wallabies, the Springboks and even scored two tries against the All Blacks.
But never against Samoa, the country where he was born 28 years ago and spent the first few years of his life. The country his birth parents still call home.
So he was nervous. Just a little bit. He tried to treat it as just another game but admitted afterwards "it was a special game...going up against where I was born."
The 28-year-old, who was raised in New Zealand by extended family on his father's side, said he received a lot of encouragement from those close to him in the week leading up to the game.
"My whole family was just sending messages of support and (saying) just enjoy the moment...I had heaps of family (in the crowd) and a couple of friends came over from New Zealand."
But were they wearing red or blue?
"The red jersey," he shot back with a smile. "My family, ever since I played for Japan, they've been behind me 100 percent."
And they would have been on their feet at the Toyota Stadium when Lafaele scored the opening try of the match with just under 28 minutes on the clock.
"That definitely settled the nerves," he confessed post-match. "But our forwards picked up in the second half which was good."
Lafaele made his debut for the Brave Blossoms in November 2016 and said the way Japan has got behind the team and the World Cup has been incredible.
"The boys are happy to get these wins and behind the support of the county it's awesome but for us every week after the game is done we're back to zero and start preparing for the next game."
Lafaele moved to Japan straight out of De La Salle College in South Auckland to attend Yamanashi Gakuin University in Kōfu, which is just under 140km west of Tokyo.
After completing his studies he signed for the Coca-Cola Red Sparks in 2014, who play in the Japan Top League. He also plays for the Sunwolves Super Rugby team and has just signed with Kobe Kobelco Steelers, where former All Blacks legend Daniel Carter also plies his trade.
Lafaele is a big fan of Japanese culture - "similar to Samoan culture" - and 10 years since first arriving in Japan, feels very much at home.
"It's been awesome, he said. "The people have gotten behind us, especially the Polynesian boys as well. Ever since we came here for university they've been really supportive and helped us along our journeys."
And with Russia, Ireland and now Samoa in the rear-view mirror, history beckons for Lafaele and the Brave Blossoms.
A win against Scotland in their final match in Pool A will guarantee a first ever trip to the Rugby World Cup quarter finals, and a probable match-up against South Africa or New Zealand.
"It's awesome finally our team is getting the recognition that we deserve," he said.
"We've been working hard the last couple of years and now everybody gets to see how we play and the style of footy that we're playing as well."