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New-look Japan side to tackle England

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: New Japan head coach Eddie Jones has named a new-look Japan side to lock horns against his former team, England.


A total of four uncapped players are set to make their debuts including a university student fullback – Yoshitaka Yazaki.

Jones – who infamously became the first Australia coach to not make it out of the group stage of the 2023 World Cup  – took up his second stint with Japan who he had relative success with in the past, most notably the 34-32 result against South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.

Jones only retained three starting players from the 27-39  loss to Argentina in the 2023 World Cup that confirmed their pool stage exit.

Before that Japan reached the quarterfinals of the global tournament for the first time in history on home soil in 2019 – losing out to eventual champions South Africa.

Leitch retains the captaincy

Loose forward Micheal Leitch retains the captain’s armband.

Leitch played as captain under Jones in his first stint with Japan between 2012 and 2015.


Japan: 15 Yoshitaka Yazaki, 14 Jone Naikabula, 13 Dylan Riley, 12 Tomoki Osada, 11 Koga Nezuka, 10 Seungsin Lee, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Faulua Makisi, 7 Tiennan Costley, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 Warner Dearns, 4 Sanaila Waqa, 3 Shuhei Takeuchi, 2 Mamoru Harada, 1 Takayoshi Mohara.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shogo Miura, 18 Keijiro Tamefusa, 19 Amanaki Saumaki, 20 Kai Yamamoto, 21 Shinobu Fujiwara, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Samisoni Tua.

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: Japan National Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14.50 (06.50 IRE & UK time; 05.50 GMT)
Referee: Luc Ramos (France)
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)


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