Sakura Fifteen Team Announced for Second Home Test Against Fijiana

Japan Head Coach Lesley McKenzie has today named the Sakura Fifteen team for their second test in the Taiyo Seimei Japan Rugby Challenge Series 2023 against Fiji at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo this Saturday, September 16. Kicking off at 18:00 local time, the match follows Japan’s 29-24 victory over Fiji in their opening test last weekend in Fukuoka.

Head coach Leslry McKenzie

Captained once again by openside-flanker, Iroha Nagata, this week’s side sees six new members come into the matchday 23 including uncapped lock, Jennifer Nduka who is set to make her Japan debut from the reserves bench. Nagata will be looking to add her four straight wins since taking over the captaincy against Kazakhstan, in Almaty back in May.

Captain Iroha NAGATA

In the forwards, both the starting and replacement front-rows remain unchanged from last week, with the experienced Sachiko Kato and Yuka Sadaka named at loosehead and tighthead respectively. Kotomi Taniguchi packs down at starting hooker, while Hinata Komaki and Nijiho Nagata are the reserves props, and Ayumu Kokaji is named as the reserve rake.

In the second-row, Mio Nishimura moves from the reserves bench to starting lock, alongside Masami Kawamura who comes into the team for her third Japan cap. The back-row remains unchanged with the formidable combination of Japan’s most capped player, Seina Saito at blindside, Ayano Nagai at number-eight and Captain, Iroha Nagata at number-seven. Sakurako Korai has been named as the reserve back-row forward.

In the halves, Megumi Abe moves from the bench to starting half-back, as a direct replacement for Moe Tsukui who starts this week from the pine. At flyhalf, the ever-steady Ayasa Otsuka retains the playmaker role, while flyhalf Minori Yamamoto, who plays in the Premier 15s with English side Worcester Warriors has been named on the reserves bench. In the midfield, Kanako Kobayashi remains at inside-centre, while at outside-centre, Haruka Hirotsu comes into the team to earn her second Japan cap.

In the back-three, Komachi Imakugi comes into the team on the left wing, while 18-year-old rookie, Misaki Matsumura, who scored a brace of tries on debut last weekend, moves from the left to the right wing. Sora Nishimura retains the fullback position, while Nao Ando rounds off the matchday 23 as the backline reserve.

The match will be telecast live in Japan from 18:00 JST on JSports Two and will be available live and via catch-up on JSports On-demand.

Team List:

1Sachiko KATOYOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-StarsWaseda Univ.164892000/2/1917
2Kotomi TANIGUCHIYOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-StarsNKS Corp163741995/4/108
3Yuka SADAKAHirosaki sakura ovalsSEINAN Corp.1671001994/11/215
4Masami KAWAMURARKU GRACEMorooka Co.,Ltd.173701999/7/136
5Mio NISHIMURANippon Sport Science Univ.Nippon Sport Science Univ.168832002/11/292
6Seina SAITOMIE PEARLSSumitomo Wiring Systems167731992/5/3036
7Iroha NAGATAARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYAKanto Foods Co.,Ltd.167701998/12/2122
8Ayano NAGAIYOKOHAMA TKMYokohama Mirai Healthcare System168841997/10/1416
9Megumi ABEARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYARDC Co.,Ltd.147531998/4/2815
10Ayasa OTSUKARKUグレースIBARAKI TOYOPET Co.,Ltd.163631999/5/516
11Komachi IMAKUGIARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYARissho Univ.158622002/1/615
12Kanako KOBAYASHIYOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars162701998/11/137
13Haruka HIROTSUNanairo PRISM FUKUOKAWaseda Univ.169682000/10/291
14Misaki MATSUMURATokyo Sankyu PhoenixWaseda Univ.169682005/3/61
15Sora NISHIMURAMIE PEARLSChoko Co.,Ltd.167682000/9/293
16Ayumu KOKAJITokyo Sankyu PhoenixOSP Holdings co., ltd.160802000/11/247
17Hinata KOMAKINippon Sport Science Univ.Nippon Sport Science Univ.166782001/5/99
18Nijiho NAGATA162802000/12/611
19Jennifer NDUKAHokkaido Barbarians DianaMedical System Network165742000/10/18
20Sakurako KORAINippon Sport Science Univ.Nippon Sport Science Univ.168742003/4/94
21Moe TSUKUIYOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-StarsLIBEST Corp.153532000/3/2825
22Minori YAMAMOTOWorcester Warriors Women169701996/12/924
23Nao ANDOBRAVE LOUVETokyo Ariake Univ.169622001/7/172