Kosei Ono is the first five, bumping Harumichi Tatekawa to inside center, and Kotaro Matsushima switches wings to make way for Akihito Yamada. At present South Africa are fifth, Scotland ninth, and Samoa 11th.
His recall was among five changes as Samoa moved on from the 46-6 loss to South Africa in Birmingham last weekend.
Samoa’s Tim Nanai-Williams catches the ball during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Sout …
Newcastle will be the same I am sure, and they have a cracking game to open with.
“To see the growth of the team, from us winning in Romania to beating Wales, Italy and now South Africa, has been great to be involved in”.
Japan have unfinished business at this World Cup, though, Borthwick adding mischievously: “We’ve got a big couple of weeks coming up and if we can get two more wins against Samoa and U.S., that would really set the cat amongst the pigeons”.
But with the luxury of a 10-day break ahead of their next clash against the Pacific Islanders at stadium:mk, Jones wants his men to stay on track for the knock-out rounds by picking up win number two.
“I’m not going to do an Eddie and mention players we’re targeting”.
Samoa might just have the edge because of their physicality, but it will depend on whether the Japanese can repeat their heroics of the South African game.
Although they have lost skipper Jean de Villiers for good and vice-captain Victor Matfield for this game and possibly the next one too, the Bok team shapes up as the best that has been selected this season, with several players now starting to head back to form after injury layoffs or, in a few cases, form slumps. “Obviously there’s no respect for each other during the 80 minutes”.
“But apart from that, the physical conditioning of the players is first class. We don’t have any excuses for the game”.
In Greig Laidlaw they have a leader who takes on responsibility and knows what he is doing, but South Africa will be a much bigger test.
Samoa are the favourites for the game though following Scotland’s comfortable success over Japan, and they will be doing all they can to solidify third and set up a showdown with Scotland to try and claw back ground and reach second spot.
But they did win the Rugby Championship and have not been ravaged by injury like they were when they went to 2011 World Cup in New Zealand off a Tri-Nations triumph.