Tokyo - Japan coach Eddie Jones has opted for only two recognised scrumhalves in his versatile 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
said versatility had "one hundred percent" played a part in his
selection choices after surprisingly going with 33-year-old wing Toshiaki Hirose and flyhalf Kosei Ono for the September 18-October 31
"We know Kosei can fill in at nine, while Hirose has
special qualities as he can play 10 and wing and his leadership off the
field is so important for us," Jones was quoted as saying by Kyodo News
The Australian went for a split of 17 forwards and 14
backs in the squad skippered by Chiefs backrow forward Michael
Clubless number eight Hayden Hopgood was one of eight
players trimmed from Jones's training squad. The Australian had sympathy
for the New Zealand-born backrow forward.
"Foreign players in
Japan get criticised a lot, but Hayden spent the last five months
without any pay trying to get into the squad even after his wife had a
baby," said Jones, who will step down after the tournament in England.
"One of the most unpleasant things in coaching is telling players they are not in the squad."
Brave Blossoms will depart for England on Tuesday where they have been
drawn in Group B alongside Scotland, Samoa, South Africa and the United
Japan are looking for only their second World Cup win
following their 1991 success over Zimbabwe. They face Georgia in a final
warm-up in Gloucester on Saturday.
Japan World Cup squad
Justin Ives, Shoji Ito, Keita Inagaki, Hitoshi Ono, Takeshi Kizu, Hendrik Tui, Luke Thompson, Kensuke Hatakeyama, Michael Broadhurst, Ryu Holani, Shota Horie, Shinya Makabe, Amanaki Mafi, Masataka Mikami, Hiroshi Yamashita, Hiroki Yuhara, Michael Leitch
Craig Wing, Kosei Ono, Ayumu Goromaru, Male Sau, Harumichi Tatekawa, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yu Tamura, Toshiaki Hirose, Atsushi Hiwasa, Kenki Fukuoka, Yoshikazu Fujita, Karne Hesketh, Kotaro Matsushima, Akihito Yamada