Sakura Fifteen Team Announced for Opening Rugby World Cup Pool Match
Japan Head Coach Lesley McKenzie has today named the Sakura Fifteen team to take on Canada in Japan’s opening Pool B match at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Kicking off at 15:15 New Zealand local time, 11:15 Japan Standard Time on Sunday, October 9, the Sakura Fifteen will be looking to make a strong start in the tournament against the number three ranked Canadians.
The side is captained by Saki Minami in her 27th test at loose-head prop, while the impressive Sachiko Kato, who spent the last two seasons playing in England with the Exeter Chiefs, will earn her 12th cap at tighthead prop. The barnstorming Seina Saito, Japan’s most capped player (32 caps) will add her considerable leadership and experience to the backrow at blindside flanker, while 30 cap utility forward Misaki Suzuki returns to the team via the reserves bench, having missed the last two matches against Ireland and New Zealand.
The exiting halves pairing of livewire scrumhalf Megumi Abe (11 caps) and impressive fly-half Ayasa Otsuka (10 caps) continues, with the pair looking to ignite the Sakura Fifteens’ attack after being starved of attacking opportunities by the Black Ferns two weeks ago at Eden Park. Try scoring, speed-machine Rinka Matsuda (6 caps) returns to fullback after playing on the left-wing against New Zealand and will relish the extra space from which to attack.
Sakura Fifteen Head Coach, Lesley McKenzie commented:
“We’re really excited about our first World Cup game. Our preparations are over and we’re looking forward to implementing our style of play against a really strong adversary in Canada. They’re a confident team with ball in hand, so we need to be able to consistently stop their attack, which means making our tackles accurately, something we know we can do, as we’ve done it this year against Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Fiji. Canada also take a lot of pride in their set piece so we will need to neutralise that as best as possible in order to give us the best platform to play our brand of rugby.”
Sunday’s match will be telecast live in Japan from 11:00 JST via JSports Two and will available live and via catch-up on JSports On-demand.
Following their opening match against Canada in Whangarei, the Sakura Fifteen will play their remaining two Pool B matches against the USA on Saturday, October 15, also in Whangarei, and Italy on Sunday, October 23, at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland.
|1||Saki MINAMI||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||163||72||1995/11/18||26|
|2||Nijiho NAGATA||International Budo Univ.||162||78||2000/12/6||9|
|3||Sachiko KATO||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||164||89||2000/2/19||11|
|4||Yuna SATO||Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix||170||75||1998/9/11||7|
|5||Maki TAKANO||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||170||76||1995/8/17||17|
|6||Seina SAITO||MIE PEARLS||164||73||1992/5/30||32|
|7||Iroha NAGATA||ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA||167||72||1998/12/21||16|
|8||Ayano NAGAI||YOKOHAMA TKM||168||84||1997/10/14||11|
|9||Megumi ABE||ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA||147||53||1998/4/28||11|
|10||Ayasa OTSUKA||RKU GRACE||163||65||1999/5/5||10|
|11||Komachi IMAKUGI||ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA /|
|12||Shione NAKAYAMA||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||166||70||1999/1/18||8|
|13||Mana FURUTA||Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix||167||70||1997/11/16||15|
|14||Hinano NAGURA||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||170||76||1997/3/22||11|
|15||Rinka MATSUDA||Nippon Sport Science Univ.||170||77||2001/12/5||6|
|16||Hinata KOMAKI||Nippon Sport Science Univ.||166||78||2001/5/9||3|
|17||Misaki SUZUKI||Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix||164||66||1992/4/9||30|
|18||Makoto LAVEMAI||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||163||73||1997/7/2||18|
|19||Kie TAMAI||MIE PEARLS||168||79||1992/10/24||14|
|20||Otoka YOSHIMURA||ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA /|
|21||Moe TSUKUI||YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars||153||54||2000/3/28||19|
|22||Minori YAMAMOTO||MIE PEARLS||169||70||1996/12/9||21|
|23||Kyoko HOSOKAWA||MIE PEARLS||164||71||1999/7/8||8|