Japan announce Olympic Sevens squads

Date published: July 18 2016 - Editor

Kenki Fukuoka is the only member of Japan’s Rugby World Cup 2015 squad to make the final cut for his country's Mens squad for the Olympics in Rio, with Akihito Yamada and Yoshikazu Fujita missing out on the chance to medal at Sevens.

Fukuoka, who played for the Brave Blossoms against Scotland in their only defeat at England 2015, made his one and only appearance on the 2015/16 World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore this April.

Previously he had only played in one tournament, on home soil in Tokyo in the 2013/14 season.

Yusaku Kuwazuru captains a squad that includes Japan’s top two try-scorers on last season’s series, Kameli Soejima and Lomano Lemeki, who managed 15 and 13 tries respectively as the Asian champions also managed to win the series qualifier in Hong Kong to replace relegated Portugal as a core team in 2016-17. 

Japan booked their place at Rio 2016 by winning the Asia Rugby qualifier last November when they beat hosts Hong Kong 24-10 in the final. 

They find themselves paired with New Zealand, Great Britain and Kenya in Pool C in the 12-team tournament, to be played at the Deodoro Stadium on 9-11 August.

Japan Men's Sevens squad : Kameli Seojima, Yusaku Kuwazuru (captain), Lote Tuqiri, Katsuyuki Sakai, Shohei Toyoshima, Lomano Lemeki , Masakatsu Hikosaka, Kazushi Hano, Teruya Goto, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Kenki Fukuoka, Kazuhiro Goya.

Meanwhile, Chiharu Nakamura will captain Japan’s women's team as the Sakura Sevens look to secure their own core team status for the 2016/17 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. 

They will join the series if they finish as the best-placed side outside of the eight core teams competing in Rio.

Japan's women won the Bowl in the opening round of the 2015/16 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in Dubai but found their first season as a core team a difficult challenge and finished 11th overall.

The draw means the Sakura Sevens will face Canada, Great Britain and hosts Brazil in Pool C, with the 12-team competition taking place from 6-8 August.

Led by head coach Keiko Asami, Japan's women booked their spots in Brazil after winning the Asia Rugby qualifier in November, when they defeated Kazakhstan 14-7 in the final.

Japan Women's squad: Yuka Kanematsu, Chiharu Nakamura (captain), Ayaka Suzuki, Ano Kuwai, Marie Yamaguchi, Makiko Tomita, Chisato Yokoo, Kana Mitsugi, Noriko Taniguchi, Yume Okuroda, Mio Yamanaka, Mifuyu Koide.

Reserve players: Aya Takeuchi, Keiko Kato