Leitch to set Japan record for World Cup appearances against England
NICE, France, Sept 15, 2023 (AFP) – Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made four changes to his starting XV from last week’s win over Chile for the Pool ‘D’ match against England in Nice on Sunday.
Hooker Shota Horie, flanker Pieter Labuschagne and captain and No.8 Kazuki Himeno come in to the forwards pack and Tomoki Osada is named at centre.
Back-row forward Michael Leitch will make his 15th Rugby World Cup appearance after being named alongside Labushagne and Himeno.
In doing so, Leitch will become Japan’s most capped Rugby World Cup player, surpassing Luke Thompson.
There are 13 survivors in Joseph’s match-day team from the last time Japan played England in 2022 — a game which they lost 52-13 — including their only try-scorer that day, Naoto Saito.
Japan kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 42-12 victory over tournament debutants Chile. After the England game, they play Samoa in Toulouse on September 28 and finish up their group play with a match against Argentina in Nantes on October 8.