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Japan

Same again for Japan

19th June 2014 09:53

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Michael Leitch Japan v Hong Kong 2014

Michael Leitch: Leads Japan again

Japan head coach Eddie Jones has named an unchanged matchday 23 for Saturday's Test against Italy in Tokyo.

The Brave Blossoms are brimming with confidence, after last weekend's 37-29 victory over the USA, and will be looking to extend their record unbeaten run to 10 games.

In the forwards, Shota Horie, Masataka Mikami and Kensuke Hatakeyama will be looking to repeat their good form of late in the front row with Shoji Ito and Luke Thompson named in the second row.

Captain Michael Leitch, Justin Ives and Ryu Koliniasi Holani form an athletic and physical back row that will look to match Italy at the breakdown and pressure their halfbacks.

Amongst the backs, Fumiaki Tanaka and Harumichi Tatekawa are the halfback pairing, Male Sa'u and Yu Tamura start in midfield, with Kenki Fukuoka, Akihito Yamada and Ayumu Goromaru making up the back three.

The replacements bench once again sees the Brave Blossoms employ a six to two forwards, backs split.

Hisateru Hirashima, Takeshi Kizu and Hiroshi Yamashita cover the front row, Hitoshi Ono and Shinya Makabe the second row and Hendrik Tui the back row.

Atsushi Hiwasa is the back-up scrum-half while former captain Toshiaki Hirose will cover the rest of the backs.

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Male Sa'u 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Leitch (c), 6 Justin Ives, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Shoji Ito, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Hisateru Hirashima, 17 Takeshi Kizu, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Hitoshi Ono, 21 Hendrik Tui, 22 Atsushi Hiwasa, 23 Toshiaki Hirosi.

Date: Saturday, June 21
Kick-off: 14:00 local (06:00 BST, 05:00 GMT)
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)
Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia)