Key duo to start for Japan

Date published: June 6 2013

Japan coach Eddie Jones has named a strong starting XV to play Wales in the first of two Tests in Osaka on Saturday.

Japan coach Eddie Jones has named a strong starting XV to play Wales in the first of two Tests in Osaka on Saturday.

Jones has bolstered his side with the inclusion of Highlanders scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka and Melbourne Rebels hooker Shota Horie – the only two players with Super Rugby experience in the squad – after recent defeats to Fiji and Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Tanaka and Horie will run out against a second-string Wales, whose top players are touring Australia with the British and Irish Lions.

Toyota Verblitz number eight Takashi Kikutani will skipper a side featuring former Australian rugby league international Craig Wing at centre, and New Zealand-born flanker Michael Broadhurst.

Japan are hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and have laid out plans to break into the top 10 rugby nations within two years.

“The Japanese team can improve further,” said Tanaka.

“I want to be in a team that can compete against the world.

“By challenging a better team like Wales and by beating them, I want to lift the Japanese team to a higher level.”

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani (c), 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shoji Ito, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 20 Ryuta Yasui, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Hirotoki Onozawa.

Date: Saturday, June 8
Kick-off: 14:00 local (06:00 BST, 05:00 GMT)
Venue: Hanazono Field, Osaka
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (England), tba (Japan)
Assessor: Lyndon Bray

COMMENTS