Experienced Japan side for Samoa

Date published: October 1 2015

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Japan have named their most experienced World Cup side ever to play Samoa in the Pool B match at Stadiummk on Saturday.

Their tally of 615 caps beats the team that took to the field against South Africa in Japan’s opening match of RWC 2015 by 15.

The team has 53 RWC caps’ worth of experience It is also Japan’s second oldest RWC side The average age of the starting XV is 29 years and 183 days, younger only than the team who lost 39-26 to USA in RWC 2003.

Coach Eddie Jones has made five changes to the team that lost 45-10 to Scotland.

Kensuke Hatakeyama replaces Hiroshi Yamashita at tighthead, with Yamashita dropping to the bench.

Second row Hitoshi Ono replaces Justin Ives, who is named as a replacement. Ryu Koliniasi Holani starts at number eight with Amanaki Lelei Mafi, who was carried off against Scotland, named as one of two number eights on the bench.

Kosei Ono comes in at fly-half with Harumichi Tatekawa moving to inside centre Kotaro Matsushima switches wings to accommodate Akihito Yamada at the expense of Kenki Fukuoka, who does not make the matchday 23.

Histoshi Ono extends his record as Japan’s most capped player.

Ayumu Goromaru, the tournament’s leading scorer after the first half of the Pool stage, needs only 18 points to reach 700 international points.

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Male Sau, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Kotaro Matsushima, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Michael Leitch (c), 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Justin Ives, 20 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 21 Hendrik Tui, 22 Atsushi Hiwasa, 23 Karne Hesketh

Date: Saturday, October 3
Venue: Stadiummk, Milton Keynes
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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