Japan fighting fit to face Samoa

Date published: October 1 2015

Japan boss Eddie Jones is ready for a physical encounter with Samoa but backs his team's fitness to pay a role in the closing stages.

The Brave Blossoms will have more caps to their name than ever before, as they turn out ten days after heavily losing to Scotland in Gloucester.

"It’s the most experienced team to ever play for Japan. We know we’ve got a big task ahead of us. If we can stick with Samoa for the first 60 (minutes) then for the last 20 we should be able to come home pretty well," he said.

"They’ve picked an interesting team, they’ve left out their acknowledged fetcher (Jack Lam) and picked a very big back row. So there’s no secret as to how they’re going to play.

"The team is in excellent condition. The only thing we’re worrying about is the injuries we got from the Scotland game. We just need to manage those injuries.

"But apart from that, the physical conditioning of the players is first class. We don’t have any excuses for the game."

The Japan head coach paid a special tribute to 37-year-old lock Hitoshi Ono, who will win his 96th cap on Saturday.

Jones revealed: "It’s going to be his 96th cap which is an unbelievable achievement. And he’s going to achieve his 96th cap as the oldest guy to play for Japan.

"He takes that record off the previous Toshiba half-back (Wataru) Murata. There must be something in those microchips at Toshiba.

"He’s an incredibly tough player and that is why he’s picked. If you want a strong child make sure they get brought up on a dairy farm, deliver the papers every morning, drink 10 beers a night. You should do a documentary on longevity – milk, newspapers and beer."