Japan skipper Himeno withdrawn from team for Chile

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph has been forced to make a late change to his team to face Chile in Toulouse on Sunday, with captain Kazuki Himeno being forced to withdraw due to injury.

Assistant coach Tony Brown said yesterday: “He has got a bit of a calf problem, but we hope he will come right in time for the game. We won’t know until tomorrow (Sunday) morning.” He has now failed to recover.

As a result Jack Cornelsen moves to No.8, with Amanaki Saumaki coming into the second row and Yutaka Nagare leading the side from scrumhalf.

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Meanwhile, former captain Michael Leitch is set to play in his fourth World Cup on the blindside.

“The team has been working really hard, training hard, getting super fit. We have been testing our game and we feel we are in a good place both with our defence and our attack,” said Brown. “We’re just focusing on making sure that we execute both on attack and being really good defensively. Chile have got some dangerous players so we are going to have to shut them down with our defence.

“I feel that if we can play our style of rugby, which is fast and skilful, then we are going to create a lot of opportunities.

“Four years ago in Japan we played some amazing rugby. We have been building since then to improve. Defensively we have improved. That’s going to be a big part of our game.

“Our kicking game has improved. Hopefully we can add stronger defence, more of a kicking game and pressure, to our attack which is always Japan’s point of difference.”

1 Keita Inagaki
2 Atsushi Sakate
3 Jiwon Gu
4 Amanaki Saumaki
5 Amato Fakatava
6 Michael Leitch
7 Kanji Shimokawa
8 Jack Cornelsen
9 Yutaka Nagare (c)
10 Rikiya Matsuda
11 Jone Naikabula
12 Ryoto Nakamura
13 Dylan Riley
14 Kotaro Matsushima
15 Semisi Masirewa

16 Shota Horie
17 Craig Millar
18 Asaeli Ai Valu
19 Warner Dearns
20 Shota Fukui
21 Naoto Saito
22 Tomoki Osada
23 Lomano Lemeki


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