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This is Japan’s Samurai Warriors to tackle Boks in World Cup Q4F


TOKYO, 18 Oct – Japan coach Jamie Joseph (NZL) has named his team for the QF4 match against South Africa at Tokyo Stadium on Sunday 20 October: 

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – OCTOBER 13: Kenki Fukuoka (R) of Japan offloads the ball to Kotaro Matsushima (L) to score his side’s first try during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Japan and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama on October 13, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

  • Japan make one change to the team that started against Scotland, with Ryohei Yamanaka coming in at full-back to replace William Tupou, who drops out of the 23.
  • There are five changes to the Brave Blossoms side that lost to 41-7 to South Africa in a World Cup warm-up game.
  • Kotaro Matsushima, Shota Horie, Luke Thompson and Michael Leitch were also in the starting XV when Japan beat South Africa at RWC 2015. Keita Inagaki and Yu Tamura start, having been on the bench in Brighton. Fumiaki Tanaka and Amanaki Lelei Mafi are on the bench, as they were four years ago.
  • Fly-half Yu Tamura is the top scorer at RWC 2019 going into quarter-final weekend with 48 points, ahead of Felipe Berchesi (URU, 30), Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Richie Mo’unga of New Zealnd (both 26). He needs 11 points to beat Ayumu Goramaru’s Japan record of 58 (at RWC 2015).
  • Kotaro Matsushima is joint top try-scorer at Rugby World Cup 2019 with five, alongside Josh Adams (WAL). His nine test tries in 2019 also puts him one ahead of Adams for the most this calendar year.
  • Matsushima also scored one try at RWC 2015, making him Japan’s all-time top scorer at World Cups with six and putting him second on the list of Tier 2 RWC try scorers. Brian Lima SAM) scored 10.
  • Luke Thompson will become the first player to play 14 RWC matches for Japan, extending his record. Michael Leitch will play his 13th match and Shota Horie his 12th.
  • Michael Leitch captains Japan for the 33rd time. Only Takuro Miuchi (45) and Takashi Kikutani (34) have led Japan more. Leitch moves ahead of both on five RWC appearances as Japan captain

The team is: 1.  Keita Inagaki, 2. Shota Horie,  3. Jiwon Koo, 4. Luke Thompson, 5. James Moore, 6. Michael Leitch (capt.), 7. Pieter Labuschagne, 8. Kazuki Himeno, 9. Yutaka Nagare, 10. Yu Tamura, 11. Kenki Fukuoka, 12. Ryoto Nakamura, 13. Timothy Lafaele, 14. Kotaro Matsushima, 15. Ryohei Yamanaka. Reserves: 16. Atsushi Sakate,  17. Isileli Nakajima, 18. Asaeli Ai Valu, 19. Wimpie van der Walt 20. Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 21. Fumiaki Tanaka, 22. Rikiya Matsuda, 23. Lomano Lava Lemeki

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