Japan make just one change for France clash

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:08
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made just one change to his team for Saturday's Test match against France following last week's win over Tonga.

The All Black has brought in Yutaka Nagare at scrumhalf in place of Fumiaki Tanaka, who drops to the bench where flank Yoshitaka Tokunaga replaces the injured Shunsuke Nunomaki.

Japan, who will host the 2019 World Cup, are hoping to spring a surprise on Guy Noves' French team who are struggling after defeats to South Africa and New Zealand.

"We understand the French team is also under a lot of pressure from the public so maybe we can use that to our advantage," said captain Michael Leitch.

"But I am sure France will come out and hope to put in a good performance for their fans."

The "Brave Blossoms" are fresh from beating Tonga 39-6 in Toulouse last weekend.

Saturday's match will be played at the recently-opened U Arena, a 30 000-capacity venue in Nanterre, just outside Paris.

Japan: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Michael Leitch (captain), 7 Amanaki Mafi, 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Shinya Makabe, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Koo Ji-Won, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 20 Fetuani Lautaimi, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Sione Teaupa, 23 Yoshikazu Fujita.

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: U Arena, Paris
Kick-off: 20.00 (19.00 GMT; 04.00 Japan Time, Sunday, November 26)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)

Agence France-Presse