Manu Samoa have returned to the top 10 of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings for the first time in nearly eight years after their win over Japan on Saturday.

The Pacific Islanders haven’t been in that position since the eve of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and have been down as low as 17th spot in the intervening years.

But their victory over upcoming pool rivals Japan continued Seilala Mapusua’s honeymoon period as coach, which has produced seven wins and only one loss.

Japan had to play a large chunk of the game a player down after number eight Michael Leitch was issued with a red card for a high tackle on So’otala Fa’aso’o.

It was 10-10 at half-time but penalties from Seungshin Lee kept the Brave Blossoms in the game throughout despite Samoa outscoring them three tries to one.

Jonathan Taumateine and Tumua Manu scored in the second half after Alamanda Motuga went over just before half-time for Samoa as they made Japan pay.

Ex-Wallaby Christian Lealiifano’s three conversions and a penalty on debut proved crucial to the final outcome as Samoa came out on top by just two points.

With 1.43 points awarded for the win, Samoa go above Georgia and also take 10th spot off Japan who fall to 12th, their lowest position since November 2016.

World Rugby men’s rankings

1(1) Ireland 91.82

2(2) France 90.47

3(3) New Zealand 90.32

4(4) South Africa 88.34

5(5) Scotland 82.77

6(6) England 82.12

7(7) Argentina 81.49

8(8) Australia 80.32

9(9) Wales 78.08

10(12) Samoa 77.46

11(11) Georgia 76.23

12(10) Japan 75.96

13(13) Fiji 75.35

14(14) Italy 74.63

15(15) Tonga 70.70

16(16) Portugal 67.62

17(17) Uruguay 66.24