Ohata set to make Japanese World Cup squad

Japan’s Rugby World Cup campaign got a boost Wednesday with the news that Daisuke Ohata is on track to make the trip to France.

The world record holder for test-match tries (69 in 58 internationals) ruptured his Achilles in January but following some rigorous rehabilitation, the Kobe Kobelco Steelers wing looks set to be named in Japan’s squad when it is announced on July 23.

“Ohata is looking really good,” Japan coach John Kirwan told The Daily Yomiuri and AAP on Wednesday.

“I’ve actually had to hold him back and tell him to rest today.”

Along with James Arlidge and Phil O’Reilly, Ohata is hoping to prove his match fitness in the Aug. 10 game against the Asian Barbarians.

“I will name a squad of 35 next week,” said Kirwan. “And then we will cut it to 30 the day before the IRB [International Rugby Board] cutoff date [Aug. 14].”

Speaking about Japan’s pre World cup training Kirwan said, “It’s been pretty torturous,” Kirwan said of the fitness camp the team is undergoing in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido. “It’s been tough but the boys have dug in.”

Japan’s opening game in the World Cup is against two-time world champions Australia in Lyon on Sept. 8.

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