Joseph Names Squad for Autumn Tests

TOKYO (Oct.19 ) – Head coach Jamie Joseph named a 34-man squad Thursday for Japan’s four games beginning Oct. 28.

The Brave Blossoms take on a World XV at Fukuoka’s Level 5 Stadium on Oct. 28. They then play Australia on Nov. 4 at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium before flying to France where they will play Tonga on Nov. 18 at Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse and France at the U Arena in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris on Nov. 25.

The squad contains six uncapped players and will be led by Michael Leitch.

“I am excited and happy to be appointed as a captain but feel responsibly at the same time,” Leitch said.

“I am excited because there are a lot of good leaders within the team and I will do my best. Rugby World Cup 2019 is two years away.  There is still plenty of work to be done to reach our goals. We have a big and exciting challenge ahead of us and we look forward to your support throughout our journey to the World Cup.”

Five of the six uncapped players are forwards with props Koo Ji Won and Asaeli Ai Valu, lock/flankers Wimpie van der Walt and Kazuki Himeno and No. 8 Fetuani Lautaimi all in line to win their first caps.

The one uncapped back is centre Sione Teaupa.

“Outside the specialist positions of front row and halfback, I am looking for players who can play a number of positions,” Joseph said.

“In a World Cup you can suffer from injuries so it is a real advantage and I have selected the team with that in mind.”

Male Sa’u is recalled to national colours in part because injury means co-captain Harumichi Tatekawa will miss the first two games, while Olympian Lomano Lava Lemeki is also back after recovering from injury.

Ryuji Noguchi, Rikiya Matsuda and Ryoto Nakamura ensure there is plenty of youth in the backline, while wings Kenki Fukuoka and Akihito Yamada have been in sparkling form in the Japan Rugby Top League.

“We have a great balance of up-and-coming players and some very experienced international players.” Joseph said.

“The caliber of the teams we are playing is very challenging but we are going in with a winning mindset.”


Position Name Club Team Graduate cm kg D/O/B Caps
PR1 Shintaro ISHIHARA SUNTORY Sungoliath Meiji Univ. 181 105 1990/6/17 6
PR1 Keita INAGAKI PANASONIC Wild Knights Kanto Gakuin Univ. 186 116 1990/6/2 16
PR1 Koki YAMAMOTO YAMAHA Jubilo Kinki Univ. 181 118 1990/10/29 4
HO Atsushi SAKATE PANASONIC Wild Knights Teikyo Univ. 180 104 1993/6/21 8
HO Takeshi HINO YAMAHA Jubilo Doshisha Univ. 172 100 1990/1/20 4
HO Shota HORIE PANASONIC Wild Knights Teikyo Univ. 180 104 1986/1/21 52
PR3 Takuma ASAHARA TOSHIBA Brave Lupus Hosei Univ. 179 113 1987/9/7 8
PR3 Asaeli Ai VALU PANASONIC Wild Knights Saitama Institute of Technology Univ. 187 115 1989/5/7
PR3 Jiwon KOO HONDA Heat Takushoku Univ. 183 122 1994/7/20
LO Samuela ANISE CANON Eagles Fiji Institute of Technology 198 118 1986/8/30 7
LO Wimpie VAN DER WALT NTT DOCOMO Red Hurricanes Nelspruit HS 188 106 1989/1/6
LO Uwe HELU YAMAHA Jubilo Takushoku Univ. 193 115 1990/7/12 6
LO Kotaro YATABE PANASONIC Wild Knights Kokushikan Univ. 190 107 1986/7/29 15
FL Shunsuke NUNOMAKI PANASONIC Wild Knights Waseda Univ. 178 96 1992/7/13 3
FL Kazuki HIMENO TOYOTA Verblitz Teikyo Univ. 187 108 1994/7/27
FL Shuhei MATSUHASHI RICOH Black Rams Meiji Univ. 180 99 1993/11/24 8
FL Michael LEITCH (Cap) TOSHIBA Brave Lupus Tokai Univ. 189 105 1988/10/7 50
No.8 Amanaki Lelei MAFI NTT COMMUNICATIONS Shining Arcs Hanazono Univ. 189 112 1990/1/11 16
No.8 Fetuani LAUTAIMI TOYOTA Verblitz Setsunan Univ. 185 115 1992/10/21


Position Name Club Team Graduate cm kg D/O/B Caps
SH Keisuke UCHIDA PANASONIC Wild Knights Univ. of Tsukuba 179 86 1992/2/22 22
SH Fumiaki TANAKA PANASONIC Wild Knights Kyoto Sangyo Univ. 166 72 1985/1/3 61
SH Yutaka NAGARE SUNTORY Sungoliath Teikyo Univ. 166 71 1992/9/4 6
SO Yu TAMURA CANON Eagles Meiji Univ. 181 91 1989/1/9 45
SO Rikiya MATSUDA PANASONIC Wild Knights Teikyo Univ. 181 92 1994/5/3 9
WTB Male SAU YAMAHA Jubilo Tangaroa College 184 98 1987/10/13 27
WTB Kenki FUKUOKA PANASONIC Wild Knights Univ. of Tsukuba 175 83 1992/9/7 23
WTB Akihito YAMADA PANASONIC Wild Knights Keio Univ. 182 88 1985/7/26 23
WTB Lomano Lava LEMEKI HONDA Heat Runcorn HS 177 92 1989/1/20 2
CTB Harumichi TATEKAWA KUBOTA Spears Tenri Univ. 180 95 1989/12/2 51
CTB Sione TEAUPA KUBOTA Spears Ryutsu Keizai Univ. 183 99 1992/7/9
CTB Ryoto NAKAMURA SUNTORY Sungoliath Teikyo Univ. 178 92 1991/6/3 11
CTB Timothy LAFAELE COCA-COLA Red Sparks Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. 186 98 1991/8/19 5
FB Ryuji NOGUCHI Tokai Univ. Tokai Univ. Gyosei HS 177 86 1995/7/15 11
FB Kotaro MATSUSHIMA SUNTORY Sungoliath Toin Gakuen HS 178 87 1993/2/26 25