Lappies leads Japan against Ireland
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Amanaki Mafi makes his first appearance for Japan at No.8 after missing the opener against Russia for his side’s second game against Ireland on Saturday.
Coach Jamie Joseph has captain and flank Michael Leitch on the bench and Pieter ‘Lappies’ Labuschagne will lead the side.
Prop Koo Ji-won, lockLuke Thompson and fullback Ryohei Yamanaka make their first starts after coming off the bench in the victory against Russia. Kazuki Himeno moves from No.8 to flank and William Tupou from fullback to wing.
Prop Asaeli Ai Valu, lock Wimpie van der Walt and wing Lomano Lemeki all drop to the bench alongside Leitch, while flank Hendrik Tui has been left out.
Wing Kenki Fukuoka, who hurt his right calf in a warm-up game against South Africa on September 6, is also an absentee.
Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 William Tupou, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Lomano Lava Lemeki.
Date: Saturday, September 28
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture
Kick-off: 16.15 (07.15 GMT; 08.15 UK & Ireland time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
📝 Amanaki Mafi will make his first appearance for Japan at number eight for the host’s second game against Ireland on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/Ep0DdNwzoD
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 26, 2019