Japan name matchday squad for game against British and Irish Lions

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph
©Steve Haag

Japan head coach Jamie Jospeh has confirmed the matchday squad for the upcoming game against the British and Irish Lions to be played at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday.

The squad will be captained by Michael Leitch, who starts at blindside with Pieter Labuschagne at openside and Amanaki Mafi has been named at number eight.

Wimpie Van der Walt and James Moore have been the designated locks while the front row comprises of Keita Inagaki, Atsushi Sakate and Jiwon Koo. Yu Tamura starts at fly-half forming halfback partnership with Kaito Shigeno.

Siosaia Fifita will make his debut for the Brave Blossoms at left wing while three more uncapped players Craig Millar, Jack Cornelsen, and Naoto Saito are named on the bench. The matchday squad also has 17 members from Japan's 2019 World Cup squad.

“This is a strong Japanese team combining a solid foundation of experience, with some exciting new players who have earned the right to represent Japan at Test match level.

"We will field a strong, competitive team on Saturday while also taking the opportunity to blood new players as we look ahead to Rugby World Cup.

“There is a great spirit among the team and a collective excitement ahead of Saturday’s match.

"Playing the Lions for the first time holds huge significance for Japanese rugby and as a team, we’re looking forward to once again be playing on the world stage and to be taking on a team with the unique strength and history of the Lions.”

Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Siosaia Fifita, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno; 1 Keita Inagaki, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 3 Jiwon Koo, 4 Wimpie Van der Walt, 5 James Moore, 6 Michael Leitch, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 8 Amanaki Mafi.

Reserves: 16 Kosuke Horikoshi, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Jack Cornelsen, 20 Kazuki Himeno, 21 Tevita Tatafu, 22 Naoto Saito, 23 Rikiya Matsuda.