Hosting their first World Cup, can Japan get out of their group and into the knockout stages?

Japan Rugby World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

At the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Japan pulled off the greatest upset in history, defeating South Africa 34-32 in Brighton. Results have been erratic since and they need the energy of a nation to do better this time around.

How They Qualified

As hosts of the 2019 tournament, Japan qualified automatically.

Key Players

Talismanic skipper Michael Leitch has been through the trenches for Japan. Fumiaki Tanaka brings bags of experience at nine and Kazuki Himeno is an exciting talent in the back five of the scrum.

Sunwolf: Michael Leitch is Japan’s talisman (Getty Images)

The Coach – Jamie Joseph

The former All Blacks flanker also played for Japan (it was a different time). He led the Highlanders to their first-ever Super Rugby title in 2014.

Leading the way: Jamie Joseph is the head coach for the Japanese (Getty Images)

Major Work-ons

You will expect Japan to erupt on Russia in the opening game of the tournament in Tokyo, but they need to ensure they don’t physically wilt against tougher opposition throughout the rest of the pool stage.

Japan Rugby World Cup Warm-ups

  • Saturday 27 July 2019: Japan 34-21 Fiji
  • Saturday 3 August 2019: Japan 41-7 Tonga
  • Saturday 10 August 2019: USA 20-34 Japan
  • Friday 6 September 2019: Japan v South Africa, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama, 7.15pm local time, Live on Eurosport

Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup Warm-ups

Japan Rugby World Cup Group

Japan are in Group A alongside Ireland, Scotland, Russia and Samoa.

Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup Group

Japan Rugby World Cup Fixtures

  • Fri 20 Sep Japan v Russia (Tokyo)
  • Sat 28 Sep Japan v Ireland (Shizuoka)
  • Sat 5 Oct Japan v Samoa (Toyota)
  • Sun 13 Oct Japan v Scotland (Yokohama)

Tour: Scotland played Japan twice in 2016 and won both contests (Getty Images)

Japan Rugby World Cup Squad

Japan have named their wider training squad;

Keita Inagaki
Yusuke Kizu
Jiwon Koo
Isileli Nakajima
Masataka Mikami
Hiroshi Yamashita
Koki Yamamoto
Asaeli Ai Valu
Takuya Kitade
Atsushi Sakate
Shota Horie
Kosuke Horikoshi
Samuel Anise
Luke Thompson
Grant Hattingh
Wimpie van der Walt
Uwe Helu
James Moore
Hendrik Tui
Yoshitaka Tokunaga
Shunsuke Nunomaki
Michael Leitch (captain)
Pieter Labuschagne
Kazuki Himeno
Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco
Amanaki Lelei Mafi
Kaito Shigeno
Fumiaki Tanaka
Yutaka Nagare
Yu Tamura
Rikiya Matsuda
Kenki Fukuoka
Ataata Moeakiola
Lomano Lava Lemeki
Yusuke Kajimura
William Tupou
Ryoto Nakamura
Timothy Lafaele
Kotaro Matsushima
Jamie Henry
Ryuji Noguchi
Ryohei Yamanaka.

Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Previous World Cup Results and Record

Japan’s Rugby World Cup Record: P28 W4 D2 L22

  • 1987 Pool stages
  • 1991 Pool stages
  • 1995 Pool stages
  • 1999 Pool stages
  • 2003 Pool stages
  • 2007 Pool stages
  • 2011 Pool stages
  • 2015 Pool stages

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