Preview: Japan v Russia

Date published: November 15 2013

Japan take on Russia in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, on Friday in the first meeting between the nations in Europe.

Japan take on Russia in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, on Friday in the first meeting between the nations in Europe.

All previous games have been held in Tokyo. Whilst Japan have never won a Test match against a Six Nations side in Europe, they have a good record against other European sides away from home, beating both Georgia and Romania once. They have suffered two defeats away in Europe against non Six Nations sides, losing to Romania and Netherlands.

Russia played two Tests in Colwyn Bay last November and lost both – 40-26 to USA and 35-3 to Canada.

Friday's match is the fifth time these two sides have met. Japan are on top in this fixture having won three of the four previous occasions – a 75% success record. All the previous games were in Tok yo.

In all four Tests between Russia and Japan, the side who has been leading at half-time has always gone on to win the game

Andrey Garbuzov will win his 50th cap for Russia on Friday.

The Japan side at Parc Eirias shows three changes from the run-on XV that lost to Scotland last weekend and 13 from the team that went down to Gloucester on Tuesday.

The tight turnaround – Japan play three games in six games – meant stand-in coach Scott Wisemantel was unable to name the team until Thursday.

“We had to have a few medical checks and weren't able to give the final verdict on certain players until this morning,” Wisemantel said.

Craig Wing has been ruled out with an ankle injury and will be replaced by Yu Tamura, who moves to inside center, having played flyhalf on Tuesday night.

The other survivor from the defeat to Gloucester is Yoshikazu Fujita, who shifts from full-back to wing to replace Kenki Fukuoka, who had to fly back to Japan.

The other change from the side that took to the field last weekend in Edinburgh sees Hitoshi Ono replace Shinya Makabe in the second row, Makabe dropping down to the bench.

There are a number of changes among the replacements.

Hiroki Yuhara is named as the reserve hooker, even though he arrived in Wales earlier Thursday after Yusuke Aoki was ruled out of the remainder of the tour.

Hisateru Hirashima will play his first full international for his country since Rugby World Cup 2011 if he comes off the bench to replace one of the props, while wing Akihito Yamada is set to win his first cap, providing he comes off the bench.

Following Friday's game in North Wales, Wisemantel and the team fly to Madrid where they will take on Spain on Nov. 23.

The teams:

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose (c), 13 Male Sau, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Yoshikazu Fujita, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Hitoshi Ono , 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Hiroki Yuharai, 17 Hisateru Hirashima, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Justin Ives, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Seiichi Shimomura, 23 Akihito Yamada .

Russia: 15 Ramil Gaysin, 14 Vasily Artemyev, 13 Dmitry Gerasimov, 12 Alexey Makovetskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10 Sergey Sugrobov, 9 Anton Ryabov, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Pavel Butenko, 6 Alexander Khudyakov, 5 Andrey Garbuzov, 4 Alexander Voytov (capt), 3 Evgeny Pronenko, 2 Valery Tsnobiladze, 1 Grigory Tsnobiladze.
Replacements: 16 Vladislav Korshunov, 17 Sergey Sekisov, 18 Innokentiy Zykov, 19 Denis Antonov, 20 Artem Fatakhov, 21 Alexey Shcherban, 22 Igor Galinovskiy, 23 Denis Simplikevich.

Date: Friday, November 15
Venue: Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, Wales
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (England)