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Japan player ratings vs Chile | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Daniel Gallan
Japan's fly-half Rikiya Matsuda (L) and Japan's wing Lomano Lemeki (R) celebrate Japan's victory after their France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Chile at Stadium de Toulouse in Toulouse, south-western France on September 10, 2023. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan player ratings: The scoreline might trick you into thinking Japan were brilliant today. They were anything but. A disjointed performance was made to look much better by an inflated scorecard. Chile gave as good as they got but ran out of steam. Better teams won’t succumb to the same problems and Japan will have to find a higher gear as quickly as they can. Still. A win is a win and as things stand the Brave Blossoms are top of their pool.


15 – Semisi Masirewa – 5
Too many aimless kicks and not enough contributions with ball in hand means Japan’s full-back cops a disappointing score. Was rightly hooked on 55 minutes for Lomano Lemeki.

14 – Kataro Matsushima – 7
One of the world’s most dangerous runners with the ball proved his value when he got it. He wasn’t blistering throughout but did show enough menace to give Steve Borthwick something to think about this week. Beat a couple off defenders with some nifty footwork too.

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13 – Dylan Riley – 6
A largely quiet match that saw him yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on as Chile were attacking down the right wing. That he didn’t play a single pass tells a story.

12 – Ryoto Nakamura – 6
Struggled to make a dent on defence, missing four of the five tackles he was asked to make. But he did score a neat try when he joined the line and cut a delicious angle against the grain off the back of a scrum.

11 – Jone Naikabula – 7
Some busting runs from the wing, he was largely kept quiet. Still, with 47 metres made he was the most prolific Japanese player according to that metric.

10 – Rikiya Matsuda – 7
Accurate off the tee and controlled when kicking from hand. Perhaps should take some criticism for his side’s disjointed backline performance, but kept the scoreboard ticking over.


9 – Yutaka Nagare – 5
A lack of cohesion across the pitch is surely a blight on the scrum-half. Was noticeable when he made way for Naoto Saito on the hour mark.


1 – Keita Inagaki – 5
Japan’s scrum struggled both in the shove and when forming before the feed. Not the best show on his 50th appearance for his country. Replaced by Craig Millar on 57 minutes.

2 – Atshushi Sakate – 5
Japan’s set-piece was a bit of a mess. Their line-out didn’t function and their maul was all over the place. Sakate’s hand in both areas was conspicuous by its absence. Subbed for Shota Horie on 49 minutes.

3 – Jiwon Gu – 5
Copped a nasty blow to his knee when he was hit late without the ball. Still, when he was on the pitch he lacked that necessary grunt up front. Replaced at half time for Asaeli Ai Valu.


4 – Amanaki Saumaki – 6
Missed only one tackle from 12 attempts he stood firm when Chile gained steam in the first half. Subbed for Warner Dearns on 54 minutes,

5 – Amato – Fakatava – 8 
Two first half tries were just reward for the towering lock who was industrious throughout the piece. He beat two defenders, carried for 26 metres and made 17 tackles. Though the Japanese maul spluttered at times, their No 5 remained imperious.

6 – Michael Leitch – 8
The former skipper’s presence wasn’t always noticeable, but when he stepped forward to pinch the ball or make an important tackle his contributions were noteworthy. One tackle in particular on a Chilean counter attack cut down Domingo Saavedra and brought a halt to a counter attack that looked destined to end in a try.


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Average Points scored
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Home team wins

7 – Kanji Shimokawa – 6
Contributed around the park. But for a flanker that’s hardly glowing praise. Will need to show more next week when he takes on England. Replaced on 49 minutes for Shots Fukui.

8 – Jack Cornelsen – 7
Three line-out steals underlined his versatility as he also contributed with a couple of set-piece wins on his own team’s throw. He provided some heft around the pitch with impressive carries and a slew of tackles in the energy-sapping heat.

16 – Shota Hoire – 6
A slick off-load in the first half was a standout moment for a Japanese front-rower.

17 – Craig Millar – 6
Improved the scrum when he came on but didn’t exactly monster his opposite number.

18 – Asaeli Ai Valu – 6
Like Millar, helped improve things at set-piece when he joined the party.

19 – Warner Dearns – 7
Some big carries when things slowed down as a consequence of the heat. Scored a try as well to cap off a handy cameo from the bench.

20 – Shota Fukui – 6
Kept his lane clear from Chilean runners. Stood firm in the heat without making the game his own.

21 – Naoto Saito – 6
Improved control at the base of the ruck when he came on. Some neat kicks round the corner might have earned him a starting berth for England.

22 – Took Osada – 6
Didn’t see much of the ball but injected a bit of gas when he came on just after the hour mark.

23 – Lomano Lemeki – 6
Fared better than the man he replaced. Still, England won’t fear either of Japan’s fullbacks and will likely test them with continuous high balls when given the chance.



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1 Comment
Stephen11 277 days ago

What about the Chilean players' ratings? Are they not worthy enough for your attention?

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