Japan Team Announced Ahead of Ireland Clash

The Japan Rugby Football Union has today announced the Brave Blossoms’ Team that will take on Ireland this Saturday, July 3 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The match holds huge significance for both teams, as Ireland look to avenge their 19 -12 loss to Japan during the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 2019, and Japan seek to bounce back after their 28 -10 defeat last weekend at the hands of the British & Irish Lions at Murrayfield, in Edinburgh.

Having not played international, test match rugby since October 2019, the match against Ireland, the second and final match of the Lipovitan D Tour 2021, is another welcome return to the field for the Brave Blossoms, and is sure to delight fans of Japanese rugby back home in Japan, and around the world.

Led by Captain Michael Leitch, the team sees Japan’s sole try scorer against the Lions return to the starting lineup, with Kazuki Himeno controlling the back of the scrum at Number 8. With the Brave Blossoms also looking ahead to Rugby World Cup 2023, two former Sunwolves players are set to receive their first test caps for Japan with Semisi Masirewa starting on the right wing and center, Shane Gates on the reserves bench.

Japan Head Coach Jamie Joseph commented:

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to test ourselves this weekend against a strong Irish team. We’ve had a great week here in Ireland and have prepared well.

“There is no doubt we will be better following the match against the Lions, but our opposition this weekend is also going to be better. Ireland at home in Dublin are incredibly tough. They’re a proud team and a proud people. We beat them the last time we played, so they will be wanting to make amends for that for sure. We expect them to come out very hard and very physically.

“Having not played test match rugby in more than a year and a half, I was happy with the team’s performance last week against the Lions. We came out of the match with areas we want to focus on and improve this weekend. We will be looking to perform at a level where we can create pressure, and through that pressure, have an opportunity to win the match.”

Japan Team to face Ireland:

No. Name Club Team cm kg DOB Caps
Keita INAGAKI PANASONIC Wild Knights 186 116 1990/06/02 35
2 Atsushi SAKATE PANASONIC Wild Knights 180 104 1993/06/21 22
3 Jiwon KOO HONDA Heat 183 118 1994/07/20 14
4 Wimpie VAN DER WALT NTT DOCOMO Red Hurricanes 188 112 1989/01/06 17
5 James MOORE Munakata SANIX Blues 195 110 1993/06/11 9
6 Michael LEITCH TOSHIBA Brave Lupus 189 113 1988/10/07 69
7 Pieter LABUSCHAGNE KUBOTA Spears 189 106 1989/01/11 9
8 Kazuki HIMENO TOYOTA Verblitz 187 112 1994/07/27 18
9 Naoto SAITO SUNTORY Sungoliath 165 73 1997/08/26 1
10 Yu TAMURA CANON Eagles 181 92 1989/01/09 64
11 Siosaia FIFITA KINTETSU Liners 187 105 1998/12/20 1
12 Ryoto NAKAMURA SUNTORY Sungoliath 181 92 1991/06/03 25
13 Timothy LAFAELE KOBE STEEL Kobelco Steelers 186 100 1991/08/19 24
14 Semisi MASIREWA KINTETSU Liners 184 93 1992/06/09
15 Kotaro MATSUSHIMA ASM Clermont Auvergne 178 88 1993/02/26 40
16 Kosuke HORIKOSHI SUNTORY Sungoliath 175 100 1995/06/02 2
17 Craig MILLAR PANASONIC Wild Knights 186 116 1990/10/29 1
18  Asaeli Ai VALU PANASONIC Wild Knights 187 115 1989/05/07 15
19 Jack CORNELSEN PANASONIC Wild Knights 195 110 1994/10/13 1
20 Tevita TATAFU SUNTORY Sungoliath 183 124 1996/01/02 4
21 Kaito SHIGENO TOYOTA Verblitz 170 75 1990/11/21 11
22 Rikiya MATSUDA PANASONIC Wild Knights 181 92 1994/05/03 24
23 Shane GATES NTT Communications ShinigArcs 183 95 1992/09/27