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RWC Pool A Preview – Japan vs Samoa

Head coach Jamie Joseph makes just two changes to his starting XV from the Ireland game in the hope of continuing Brave Blossoms’ winning ways.

AICHI, 3 Oct – Pieter Labuschagne remains as captain and fellow flanker Michael Leitch returns to the starting XV for Japan as hooker Atsushi Sakate makes his World Cup debut against Samoa in Toyota on Saturday.

Head coach Jamie Joseph has made two changes from the game against Ireland on 30 September, with Wimpie van der Walt returning to start in place of Luke Thompson, who misses out from selection in the 23-man squad.

Regular hooker Shota Horie starts on the bench, while Kazuki Himeno continues his number eight role after starting as flanker last Sunday.

All backs are retained, while second-row Uwe Helu makes the bench for the first time. Flanker Hendrik Tui returns to the fold after being left out last time.

TOKYO, 3 Oct – Samoa coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson has responded to his team’s 34-0 defeat by Scotland by making six changes to the starting XV to play Japan on Saturday.

Loose-head prop Jordan Lay, second-row Piula Faasalele and fly-half Ulupano Seuteni all make their first starts at RWC 2019, as does hooker Seilala Lam, alongside brother and captain Jack, the number eight, for the game at City of Toyota Stadium.

Also making his first start – and appearance – at the tournament is Ah See Tuala. On the other wing, Ed Fidow starts having been cleared to play following his sending off against Scotland for two yellow-card offences. Fidow scored two tries in Samoa’s 34-9 opening-match victory over Russia.

Tusi Pisi, who has been receiving a lot of attention from the Japanese media having just returned to the country to play his club rugby, drops to the bench.

TJ Ioane and Tim Nanai-Williams are the only survivors from the XV who started against Japan at RWC 2015.

RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED

JAP (on 80.70 points) at home -vs- SAM (on 70.72 points) in a RWC match

Possible Outcome Rating Point
Will SAM
overtake JAP?
If JAP win by 1-15 points 0.000 80.70 70.72 No
If JAP win by more than 15 0.000 80.70 70.72 No
If result is a draw 2.000 78.70 72.72 No
If SAM win by 1-15 points 4.000 76.70 74.72 No
If SAM win by more than 15 6.000 74.70 76.72 Yes

1. Keita Inagaki 2. Atsushi Sakate 3. Jiwon Koo4. Wimpie van der Walt 5. James Moore 6. Michael Leitch 7. Pieter Labuschagne (capt.) 8. Kazuki Himeno 9. Yutaka Nagare 10. Yu Tamura 11. Lomano Lava Lemeki 12. Ryoto Nakamura 13. Timothy Lafaele 14. Kotaro Matsushima 15. Ryohei Yamanaka
16. Shota Horie 17. Isileli Nakajima 18. Asaeli Ai Valu 19. Uwe Helu 20. Hendrik Tui 21. Fumiaki Tanaka 22. Rikiya Matsuda 23. Kenki Fukuoka

1. Jordan Lay 2. Seilala Lam 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Piula Faasalel 5. Kane Le’aupepe 6. Chris Vui 7. TJ Ioane 8. Jack Lam (capt.) 9. Dwayne Polataivao 10. Ulupano Seuteni 11. Ed Fidow 12. Henry Taefu 13. Alapati Leiua 14. Ah See Tuala 15. Tim Nanai-Williams
16. Ray Niuia 17. Paul Alo-Emile 18. James Lay 19. Senio Toleafoa 20. Josh Tyrell 21. Pele Cowley 22. Tusi Pisi

Date: Saturday, October 5
Venue: City of Toyota Stadium
Kick-off: 19:30 local (11:30 BST, 10:30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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