Jamie Joseph unveils Japan squad

2018-05-23 14:04
Jamie Joseph (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Japan coach Jamie Joseph has named a 33-man squad for June's upcoming Test matches against Italy and Georgia, which includes just one new cap. 

Flank Masakatsu Nishikawa, who turned 31 last week and plays for the Sunwolves, is the only fresh face among the group. 

"Nishikawa has played consistently good rugby for Suntory for the last two years and shown the mettle and resilience I am looking for," Joseph said. 

"It's not common to make your test debut at that age but I give you another player by comparison in Frank Bunce who became an All Black at 31 and went on to become the most capped centre in New Zealand prior to Conrad Smith." 

Joseph also confirmed that John Plumtree - who had a big influence on the Brave Blossoms in November 2017, when they beat Tonga and drew with France - would resume as defence coach. 

"John has committed to joining the national team for the June tests and will be part of the Japan coaching panel for the November tests, and we have just about finalized his commitment to 2019," Joseph explained. 

"Obviously his recent promotion to head coach of the Hurricanes has seen a change in his personal plans, but we are confident we will have John through the World Cup and the World Cup preparations." 

The Brave Blossoms take on Italy on June 9 and 16 in Oita and Kobe, respectively, before they play Georgia on June 23 in Toyota city, and Joseph said they presented good challenges ahead of the World Cup. 

"Italy and Georgia are both set piece teams with very strong scrums, line-outs and mauls and exactly the type of challenge we need going into games against the All Blacks and England at the end of the year and as we prepare for the World Cup." 

Forwards: Shintaro Ishihara, Keita Inagaki, Atsushi Sakate, Yusuke Niwai, Shota Horie, Takuma Asahara, Koo Ji Won, Genki Sudo; Samuela Anise, Wimpie van der Walt, Uwe Helu, Shinya Makabe, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Masakatsu Nishikawa, Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Michael Leitch, Shunsuke Nunomaki, Kazuki Himeno 

Backs: Fumiaki Tanaka, Keisuke Uchida, Yutaka Nagare, Yu Tamura, Rikiya Matsuda, Kenki Fukuoka, Akihito Yamada, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Sione Teaupa, Harumichi Tatekawa, Ryoto Nakamura, Timothy Lafaele, William Tupou; Kotaro Matsushima, Ryuji Noguchi

Read more on:    japan  |  jamie joseph  |  rugby

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