Japan Head Coach Jamie Joseph has announced the Brave Blossoms team to take on the All Blacks this Saturday, October 14 at Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo.
The match will be the seventh between the two nations since their first test match in 1987, with the Brave Blossoms yet to taste victory against the three-time World Champions.
Atsushi Sakate captains the side from hooker in his 31st test cap with the experienced, 42-cap Keita Inagaki at loosehead and 18-cap Jiwon Gu at tighthead.
Warner Dearns and Jack Cornelsen pack down in the second rower with Michael Leitch at blindside, Kazuki Himeno on the openside and Tevita Tatafu at no.8.
In the halves, Yutake Nagare slots in at scrumhalf alongside Takuya Yamasawa who earns his 5th test cap at flyhalf.
Ryoto Nakamura brings his 30 test caps of experience to inside centre, alongside the hard-running, hard tacking, Dylan Riley at outside centre.
In the back three, Siosaia Fifita and Kotaro Matsushima cover the left and right wings respectively, while the ever-reliable Ryohei Yamanaka is at fullback.
Commenting on the Brave Blossoms team selection, Japan Head Coach Jamie Joseph said:
“Coming into this weekend, the energy within the team has been really positive and we’re excited for the match. Against Australia A we learnt the need to be consistent when the pressure comes on. In the last match, we were up by 20 points and through some mental lapses, we allowed them back into the game and they put us under real pressure. This week we need to ensure we’ve got really experienced, highly competent players coming on during those tough parts of the match, so that’s been a big driver with our selections on the bench.
“Our focus has been on us as a team and what we can do to create pressure and opportunities for ourselves. The All Blacks like to control the game through the set piece, so we’ve done a lot of work with our scrum and lineout knowing that we’re playing a very big and experienced pack that will try and dominate us up front. We have to manage that and then, when we can create quality ball for our backs, as we showed against Auatralia A, we can score some quality tries as well.”
|1||Keita INAGAKI||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|2||Atsushi SAKATE||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|3||Jiwon GU||KOBELCO KOBE STEELERS|
|4||Warner DEARNS||TOSHIBA BRAVE LUPUS TOKYO|
|5||Jack CORNELSEN||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|6||Michael LEITCH||TOSHIBA BRAVE LUPUS TOKYO|
|7||Kazuki HIMENO||TOYOTA VERBLITZ|
|8||Tevita TATAFU||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|9||Yutaka NAGARE||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|10||Takuya YAMASAWA||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|11||Siosaia FIFITA||HANAZONO KINTETSU LINERS|
|12||Ryoto NAKAMURA||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|13||Dylan RILEY||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|14||Kotaro MATSUSHIMA||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|15||Ryohei YAMANAKA||KOBELCO KOBE STEELERS|
|16||Takeshi HINO||SHIZUOKA BlueRevs|
|17||Craig MILLAR||SAITAMA Panasonic WILD KNIGHTS|
|18||Shuhei TAKEUCHI||URAYASU D-Rocks|
|19||Kanji SHIMOKAWA||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|20||Faulua MAKISI||Kubota Spears Funabashi TOKYO-BAY|
|21||Naoto SAITO||TOKYO SUNTORY SUNGOLIATH|
|22||Seungsin LEE||KOBELCO KOBE STEELERS|
|23||Gerhard Van Den HEEVER||Kubota Spears Funabashi TOKYO-BAY|
Japan vs New Zealand Past Results:
October 25, 1987 (L) 0-74 Osaka
November 1, 1987 (L) 4-106 Tokyo
June 4, 1995 (L) 17-145 Bloemfontein (RWC 1995)
September 16, 2011 (L) 7-83 Hamilton
November 2, 2013 (L) 6-54 Tokyo
November 3, 2018 (L) 31-69 Tokyo