Planet Rugby

Preview: Japan v New Zealand

01st November 2013 05:23

Share:

NZ V Japan RWC 2011

Japan face a daunting task against the world champions

New Zealand will hope to get their end-of-year tour off to a resounding start when they take on Japan at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.

If games against France, England and Ireland are the main course then this - no disrespect to the Brave Blossoms - is the All Blacks' November starter.

Even with a much-changed line-up that includes two debutants in the XV, the world champions should run away with the win before setting off for Europe.

They, by the way. are Dominic Bird and Frank Halai, with the latter hoping to carry on the form that saw him finish Super Rugby as its top try-scorer.

How the Japanese are going to halt Halai and the rest of this squad is the big question as Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau and Ben Smith may run riot.

While there is an experimental feel to the All Blacks this week, there still remains Richie McCaw and also the return to action of fly-half Dan Carter.

McCaw is moved to number eight for this game as Kieran Read gets to put his feet up while Bird and Jeremy Thrush line up together for the first time.

A clean sweep in the upcoming month looks on the cards as one can bet the pain from that 38-21 Twickenham loss of last year is spurring them on inside.

Japan though, won't be holding back as captain Toshiaki Hirose said on Thursday. The winger is relishing the challenge of going up against New Zealand.

"McCaw is one of the giants of world rugby and it will be amazing to be up close against him," he said, with the Brave Blossoms looking to reduce their 76-point defeat they suffered when the two teams last met in Hamilton in 2011 before they tackle Scotland, Gloucester, Russia and Spain during November.

However, it's been a tough time for Japan due to head coach Eddie Jones suffering a mild stroke a fortnight ago. But with interim boss Scott Wisemantel relishing the challenge of going toe-to-toe with Steve Hansen and the All Blacks, the game promises to be an entertaining spectacle at the 27,188 venue.

"We are not going out there with a defeatist attitude," Wisemantel told the reporters.

"We want to attack and go out there and actually win the game."

It would be fantastic to see the Brave Blossoms live up to such belief and stay in the game for a decent amount of time, but this is the real world and with six wins from six during the Rugby Championship, New Zealand shouldn't have any trouble rolling past their first rival since that Ellis Park epic.

Ones to watch:

For Japan: It is unfortunate that Aaron Smith is on the bench for the All Blacks as we could have witnessed a battle of the Highlanders at nine. Fumiaki Tanaka of course starts for Japan and has enjoyed a steady improvement in his game over the past few years. Tanaka always boasted rapid service and pace but he has now developed his decision making to such an extent that he seemed to have moved ahead of Smith in Dunedin's pecking order.

For New Zealand: He was superb throughout the Rugby Championship as an impact man but now Beauden Barrett has an opportunity to enjoy an extended spell in the side. Whether coming on at full-back or fly-half, the Hurricanes starlet was electric with ball in hand and turned out to be the scourge of South Africa in their two meetings. He should have plenty of attacking opportunities on Saturday and is definitely set to gobble those up.

Head-to-head: Melbourne Rebels hooker Shota Horie goes up against Hurricanes front-row Dane Coles in Tokyo in what is an intriguing clash in more ways than one. Coles is in line to take over the number two jersey on a permanent basis from veteran duo Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu and solid performances this November could see it happen sooner rather than later. Horie can play, mind, so Coles won't have it all his own way on Saturday.

Recent results:

2011: New Zealand won 83-7 in Hamilton
1995: New Zealand won 145-17 in Bloemfontein

Prediction: The visitors will have too much class. All Blacks by 45 points!

The teams:

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose, 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Shoji Ito, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Aoki, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Luke Thompson, 20 Takashi Kikutani, 21 Kosei Ono, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yoshikazu Fujita.

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Date: Saturday, November 2
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14:00 local (05:00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

By Adam Kyriacou

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00