Japan ring the changes for Scotland’s RWC opener

Japan coach Eddie Jones is up for coach of the year

Japan coach Eddie Jones has named a team with several changes for their second Rugby World Cup pool match which is against Scotland in Gloucester on Wednesday.

Japan shocked the Rugby World by beating South Africa 34-32 but will have a short turnaround as they will play Scotland who be playing their first match
of the tournament.

The Japan team will be captained by Michael Leitch and star fullback Ayumu Goromaru and are among the nine starters from that game to be retained by coach
Eddie Jones for the Scottish clash.

Jones, who is targeting a quarter-final spot which would be a first for the ‘Brave Blossoms’, has only three full days to turn them round against a Scottish
side that is fresh and will be playing their first game of the tournament.

“We do not have a lot of time but we are well prepared, ” said 55-year-old Jones.

“We have made a lot of changes. “

Chief among those is the freshening up of the front row that destroyed the Springboks trio of hooker Bismarck du Plessis, his prop brother Jannie and Tendai
‘The Beast’ Mtawarira, one of the most experienced in world rugby on Saturday.

Props Keita Inagaki and Hiroshi Yamashita come in for Masatake Mikami and Kensuke Hatakeyama, who get some time on the bench after their sterling efforts.

“We are going to try once again to be at our best in terms of gaining ball from the scrum, ” said Jones, referring to the front row changes.

“If we manage that, then we can get ourselves into contention for the game. “

Amanaki Mafi, who was very effective when he came on as a replacement in the second-half against the ‘Boks, gets a start at No8 ahead of Hendrik Tui.

In the backs Harumichi Tatekawa moves from centre to fly-half for the game with wing Akihito Yamada replaced by Kenki Fukuoka.

Jones, who it was announced on Monday will coach South African Super Rugby side the Stormers, said there would be no resting on their laurels.

“We did not come here to be one hit wonders, ” said Jones.

“As I have already said, we have two objectives here: reach the quarter-finals and to be the team of the tournament.

“With that in mind we have made a successful start, ” he said with
a smile.


Ayumu Goromaru; Kotaro Matsushima, Male Sau, Yu Tamura, Kenki Fukuoka; Harumichi Tatekawa, Fumiaki Tanaka; Amanaki Mafi, Michael Broadhurst, Michael Leitch (capt);
Justin Ives, Luke Thompson; Hiroshi Yamashita, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki

Replacements: Takeshi Kizu, Masataka Mikami, Kensuke Hatakeyama, Shinya Makabe, Shoji Ito, Hendrik Tui, Atsushi Hiwasa, Karne Hesketh.

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