Japan ready for Chile to bring the heat in simmering Toulouse


Japan head coach Jamie Joseph went for experience on Friday as he named nine survivors from the last World Cup in his starting XV to face Chile in Toulouse.

Only one member of the staring lineup, 24-year-old flanker Kanji Shimokawa, is under 26 and seven are over 30.

“We’ll be looking to go out and start well,” Joseph said on the Japanese rugby federation’s web site.

“Chile are new to the World Cup but this will be their World Cup final, a game they’ve targeted with their players all available and motivated to have a very good performance and put us under pressure.

“They will look to put the pressure on in the first 20 minutes. So we’ll be focusing on ensuring that doesn’t happen.”

Flanker Michael Leitch will appear in his first World Cup and prop Keita Inagaki will play his 50th international.

The game kicks off in the early afternoon in Toulouse when temperatures are forecast to be in the mid 30s Celsius.

“It’s going to be hot, but the last six or seven games we’ve played have been similar and our boys are used to the heat.” said Joseph, before adding that hot weather is a particular challenge for Japan.

“With the heat you get a slippery ball and the way we play, with the amount of passes we execute, nearly double the amount of other teams, it puts a lot of pressure on our skillset.”

The backs are led by winger Kotaro Matsushima, who scored five tries in the last World Cup starts, on the wing.

Lock Jack Cornelsen will be appearing in his first World Cup game. His father Greg, a back-row-forward, played 25 tests for Australia between 1974 and 1982, including one test against Japan in 1975.

Japan team to play Chile in Rugby World Cup Pool D match in Bordeaux on Sunday (kick-off: 1100GMT):

Team (15-1):

Semisi Masirewa; Kotaro Matsushima, Dylan Riley, Ryoto Nakamura, Jone Naikabula; Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno (capt), Kanji Shimokawa, Michael Leitch; Amato Fakatava; Jack Cornelsen, Jiwon Gu, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki

Replacements: Shota Horie, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Warner Dearns, Shota Fukui, Naoto Saito, Tomoki Osada, Lomano Lemeki

Source: France24