Japan name side to face Springboks

Date published: September 17 2015

Eddie Jones has chosen his side for Japan's opening Rugby World Cup match this weekend against South Africa in Brighton.

Japan have rung the changes and announced the eldest side in their Test history.

Head coach Eddie Jones makes five changes from the side that beat Georgia 13-10 in Gloucester on September 5, the side’s last Test match.

Akihito Yamada replaces Yoshikazu Fujita on the wing and Hendrik Tui moves from the wing to number eight.

Fly-half Harumichi Tatekawa drops to the bench in place of Kosei Ono, and Kensuke Hatakeyama replaces Hiroshi Yamashita, who is named as a replacement. Tui’s move to number eight means there is no place for Koliniashi Holani, who is in the squad but not named in the matchday 23.

Only seven players in the 23 were in the match-day 22 for Japan’s last RWC match, the 23-23 draw against Canada on 27 September 2011.

The starting XV for Saturday has an average age of 29 years and 310 days.

The starting side boasts 574 caps, which is the second most by a Japanese Test side after the win against Georgia, which had 586 caps. The side is also the most experienced to play in a World Cup for Japan, beating the 465 caps held by the starting 15 for Japan’s 21-47 defeat to France on 10 September 2011.

Hitoshi Ono continues to extend his record as Japan’s most capped player, winning his 95th cap.

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

Date: Saturday, September 16
Venue: Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Kick-off: 16:45 local 
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)