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Jamie Joseph makes 4 changes to Japan's official World Cup squad

By Rugby365
Japan's rugby head coach Jamie Joseph (C) attends a training session in Tokyo on August 16, 2023, a day after the selection announcement of Japan's national team players for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Brave Blossoms coach Jamie Joseph has made four changes to the original World Cup squad for Japan that was announced three days ago.


Lock James Moore has been withdrawn from the squad due to conditioning issues which opened the door to include four new names on the final list that would be going to the World Cup.

He has drafted three locks in Uwe Helu, Warner Dearns and Amanaki Saumaki, as well as flank Lappies Labuschagne.

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Labuschagne was named despite the red card he picked up against the Fijians that will see him miss Japan’s last warm-up game and its World Cup opener.

Dearns, who like the uncapped Saumaki will be appearing at his first World Cup, has recovered from injuries to his shoulder and ankle and his inclusion will be most welcome given the withdrawal of Moore due to what the JRFU described as “bad condition.”


Helu and Labuschagne return for their second World Cup after having been part of Japan’s 2019 home World Cup squad, while the towering Dearns and the uncapped Saumaki are set to feature in their first Rugby World Cup.

The Brave Blossoms will depart Japan on August 19 ahead of their final World Cup warm-up match against Italy in Treviso on Saturday, August 26.


The team then heads to their Official Base Camp in Toulouse to prepare for their opening Pool D match against Chile on Sunday, September 10 at Stadium de Toulouse.

They then face England on Sunday, September 17 at Stade de Nice before returning to Stadium de Toulouse to take on Samoa on Thursday, September 28.

The Brave Blossom’s final pool match will be against Argentina on Sunday, October 8 at Stade de la Beaujoire, in Nantes.


FORWARDS: Keita Inagaki, Craig Millar, Sione Halasili, Jiwon Gu, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Asaeli Ai Valu, Shota Horie , Atsushi Sakate , Kosuke Horikoshi, Jack Cornelsen , Shota Fukui , Kazuki Himeno, Michael Leitch, Ben Gunter, Warner Dearns, Uwe Helu, Lappies Labuschagne, Amanaki Saumaki


BACKS: Naoto Saito , Yutaka Nagare , Kenta Fukuda, Lee Seung-sin, Rikiya Matsuda , Jumpei Ogura, Siosaia Fifita, Semisi Masirewa, Jone Naikabula, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Ryoto Nakamura , Tomoki Osada , Shogo Nakano , Dylan Riley, Kotaro Matsushima



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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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