Eddie Jones goes rogue once again as Japan boss names EIGHT uncapped players to face England including university student

Colin Newboult
Eddie Jones during a press conference as Japan head coach in 2024.

Eddie Jones during a press conference as Japan head coach in 2024.

Japan will face an experienced England side on Saturday having named a staggering eight uncapped players in the 23-man team.

In Eddie Jones’ first game back in charge of the Brave Blossoms, the former Wallabies and Red Rose boss has selected a surprising squad.

Like he did with Australia, Jones has decided to go with youth, although he has kept on the vastly experienced Michael Leitch, who remains Japan’s captain.

Callow front-row

Four of the uncapped players feature in the starting line-up with two of those in the front-row as Takayoshi Mohara and Mamoru Harada are picked alongside tighthead Shuhei Takeuchi, who has a grand total of three caps.

There is a bit more experience at lock as Sanaila Waqa and Warner Dearns combine, but the front five only have 16 caps between them.

Leitch provides the bulk of the experience in the pack as he is joined by Faulua Makisi and debutant Tiennan Costley in the loose trio.

Behind the scrum, there are more familiar names with Naoto Saito and Seungsin Lee the half-back combination.

Alongside those two are Tomoki Osada and Dylan Riley at centre, who were both part of the Rugby World Cup squad.

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The dangerous Jone Naikabula is on the wing and he combines with Koga Nezuka, who will add to his one cap, and Yoshitaka Yazaki in the back three.

Yazaki is the most interesting selection given that he has been plucked from relative obscurity having played for Waseda University this season.

He has no professional playing experience, although the flyer did impress in the World Rugby U20 Championship last year.

On the bench, there are four more uncapped players in Keijiro Tamefusa, Kai Yamamoto, Shinobu Fujiwara and Samisoni Tua.

Atsushi Sakate, Shogo Miura, Amanaki Saumaki and Rikiya Matsuda complete the 23 for the clash against a strong England outfit.

Japan team to face England

Japan: 15 Yoshitaka Yazaki, 14 Jone Naikabula, 13 Dylan Riley, 12 Tomoki Osada, 11 Koga Nezuka, 10 Seungsin Lee, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Faulua Makisi, 7 Tiennan Costley, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Warner Dearns, 4 Sanaila Waqa, 3 Shuhei Takeuchi, 2 Mamoru Harada, 1 Takayoshi Mohara
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shogo Miura, 18 Keijiro Tamefusa, 19 Amanaki Saumaki, 20 Kai Yamamoto, 21 Shinobu Fujiwara, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Samisoni Tua

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: National Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14:50 local (06:50 BST, 05:50 GMT)
Referee: Luc Ramos (France)
Assistant Referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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