Hosting their first World Cup, Japan made history by reaching the last eight


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. They couldn’t do it again in the quarter-finals this time but they certainly captured a lot of hearts and minds.

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

Japan played a solid game against Russia 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 7-41 South Africa

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 Kit

Japan Rugby World Cup Fixtures

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

Japan Rugby World Cup Squad

Japan have named their 31-man Rugby World Cup squad for the tournament;

Forwards (18)

Keita Inagaki
Yusuke Kizu
Koo Ji-won
Isileli Nakajima
Asaeli Ai Valu
Takuya Kitade
Atsushi Sakata
Shota Horie
Luke Thompson
Wimpie van der Walt
Uwe Helu
James Moore
Hendrik Tui
Yoshitaka Tokunaga
Michael Leitch (captain)
Lappies Labuschagne
Kazuki Himeno
Amanaki Mafi

Backs (13)

Kaito Shigeno
Fumiaki Tanaka
Yutaka Nagare
Yu Tamura
Rikiya Matsuda
Kenki Fukuoka
Ataata Moeakiola
Lomano Lemeki
William Tupou
Ryoto Nakamura
Timothy Lafaele
Kotaro Matsushima
Ryohei Yamanaka

Related: 2019 Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Previous World Cup Results and Record

Japan’s Rugby World Cup Record: P33 W8 D2 L23

  • 1987 Pool stages
  • 1991 Pool stages
  • 1995 Pool stages
  • 1999 Pool stages
  • 2003 Pool stages
  • 2007 Pool stages
  • 2011 Pool stages
  • 2015 Pool stages
  • 2019 Quarter-finals

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