Sakura Fifteen Squad Announced for Inaugural WXV 2

With World Rugby’s inaugural WXV 2 kicking off in Cape Town between 13 – 28 October, the Japan Rugby Football Union has today announced the 30 player, Sakura Fifteen squad that will travel to South Africa for the tournament.

Captained by Iroha Nagata, the squad comprises 18 forwards and 12 backs, including Japan’s most capped player, the indomitable Seina Saito. Saito adds her 37 caps to a squad that brings together a strong core of experienced players, balanced with a contingent of exciting new talent destined to be Sakura Fifteens stars of the future. Of the 30 players making up the squad, prop, Natsuki KASHIWAGI is the only uncapped player, while 16 come into the tournament with 10 test caps or less experience.

The Sakura Fifteen will be looking to make a strong showing following their disappointing performance at last year’s World Cup in New Zealand. If current form is anything to go by, the Japanese team heads to South Africa with renewed confidence and momentum off the back of a six-match winning streak following their historic 24-25 win over Italy away in Parma on Saturday, 30 September. Prior to this, Japan also defeated Fiji in both of their recent home test matches, as well as recording solid victories away to Kazakhstan and Spain.

Their victory against Le Azzurre, the first time Japan has ever beaten the eighth ranked Italians holds double significance as Italy was the last game they lost, at the World Cup last year, while they are also Japan’s first opponent in WXV 2 at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, on 13 October.

Following their opening match against Italy, the Sakura Fifteen then take on Samoa on Saturday, 21 October, followed by Scotland on Friday, 27 October, with both matches taking place at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town. Being the first year of the tournament, there will be no promotion and relegation between Divisions One and Two, however the sixth-placed Division Two team will face relegation to Division Three for next year’s tournament.

Fans looking to catch the action from South Africa, along with all the WXV 1 and 3 matches taking place in New Zealand and Dubai respectively, will be delighted that the entire tournament will be broadcast on RugbyPass TV, World Rugby’s new global streaming platform.

Name Team School/Company height weigth DOB caps
Sachiko KATO YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars   164 89 2000/2/19 19
Natsuki KASHIWAGI Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix Sankyu Inc. 158 68 1998/9/22
Masami KAWAMURA RKU GRACE Morooka Co.,Ltd. 173 70 1999/7/13 8
Asuka KUGE ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA Goto Hygine Consultant 163 75 1994/9/22 5
Sakurako KORAI Nippon Sport Science Univ. Nippon Sport Science Univ. 168 74 2003/4/9 6
Hinata KOMAKI Nippon Sport Science Univ. Nippon Sport Science Univ. 166 78 2001/5/9 11
Seina SAITO MIE PEARLS Sumitomo Wiring Systems 167 73 1992/5/30 37
Yuka SADAKA Hirosaki sakura ovals SEINAN Corp. 167 100 1994/11/2 17
Kotomi TANIGUCHI YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars NKS Corp 163 74 1995/4/10 10
Ayano NAGAI YOKOHAMA TKM Yokohama Mirai Healthcare System 168 84 1997/10/14 18
Iroha NAGATA ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA Kanto Foods Co.,Ltd. 167 70 1998/12/21 24
Nijiho NAGATA   162 80 2000/12/6 13
Mio NISHIMURA Nippon Sport Science Univ. Nippon Sport Science Univ. 168 83 2002/11/29 3
Sakurako HATADA Nippon Sport Science Univ. Nippon Sport Science Univ. 161 66 2003/5/8 1
Manami MINE Nippon Sport Science Univ. Nippon Sport Science Univ. 163 76 2003/9/11 1
Otoka YOSHIMURA ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA/Rissho Univ. Rissho Univ. 174 83 2001/5/15 12
Mei YOSHIMOTO Otemon Univ. Otemon Univ. 168 65 2002/3/21 1
Jennifer NDUKA Hokkaido Barbarians Diana Medical System Network 165 74 2000/10/18 2
Megumi ABE ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA RDC Co.,Ltd. 147 53 1998/4/28 17
Nao ANDO BRAVE LOUVE Tokyo Ariake Univ. 169 62 2001/7/17 3
Komachi IMAKUGI ARUKAS QUEEN KUMAGAYA/Rissho Univ. Rissho Univ. 158 62 2002/1/6 17
Ayasa OTSUKA RKU GRACE IBARAKI TOYOPET Co.,Ltd. 163 63 1999/5/5 18
Kanako KOBAYASHI YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars   162 70 1998/11/13 9
Moe TSUKUI YOKOGAWA Musashino Artemi-Stars LIBEST Corp. 153 53 2000/3/28 27
Sora NISHIMURA MIE PEARLS Choko Co.,Ltd. 167 68 2000/9/29 5
Haruka HIROTSU Nanairo PRISM FUKUOKA Waseda Univ. 169 68 2000/10/29 3
Mana FURUTA Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix NTT Facilities Inc. 167 69 1997/11/16 22
Misaki MATSUMURA Tokyo Sankyu Phoenix Waseda Univ. 169 68 2005/3/6 2
Kotono YASUO BRAVE LOUVE Toyo Univ. 156 61 2001/10/2 6
Minori YAMAMOTO Worcester Warriors Women   169 70 1996/12/9 25