Japan coach Jamie Joseph has tweaked his team as they look to bounce back against France in Saturday’s second rugby Test while the Six Nations champions made only one change to their side.
Japan, led by hooker Atsushi Sakate, lost 42-23 in the first Test last weekend after having gone into the halftime break at 13 points all.
Seungsin Lee has retained the number 10 jersey for Saturday’s match after his solid performance at five-eighth in the last game, while veteran Yu Tamura returns to the team on the bench as the reserve playmaker.
Naoto Saito at halfback and reserve hooker Shota Horie also return to the squad after missing out last weekend, while Takayusa Tsuji is set to earn his first cap. He is joined by 13 players with fewer than 10 Test caps.
“Last week we were able to play well and put pressure on France, but in the second half we lost a bit of control and started overplaying at times. This week we’ve got to be more balanced and controlled,” said Joseph.
“We won’t look to change how we play but will need to be a little smarter when we have the ball.”
France coach Fabien Galthie has brought in Max Spring, who will play at fullback in place of Melvyn Jaminet. Max Lucu will take the kicks in the absence of Jaminet.
France have never lost to Japan.
Japan: 15-Ryohei Yamanaka, 14-Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13-Dylan Riley, 12-Shogo Nakano, 11-Siosaia Fifita, 10-Seungsin Lee, 9-Naoto Saito, 8-Jack Cornelsen, 7-Ben Gunter, 6-Michael Leitch, 5-Sanaila Waqa, 4-Warner Dearns, 3-Asaeli Ai Valu, 2-Atsushi Sakate, 1-Keita Inagaki. Replacements: 16-Shota Horie, 17-Yukio Morikawa, 18-Yusuke Kizu, 19-Takayasu Tsuji, 20-Tevita Tatafu, 21-Kaito Shigeno, 22-Yu Tamura, 23-Shane Gates.
France: 15-Max Spring, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Virimi Vakatawa, 12-Yoram Moefana, 11-Matthis Lebel, 10-Matthieu Jalibert, 9-Maxime Lucu, 8-Yoan Tanga, 7-Charles Ollivon, 6-Dylan Cretin, 5-Thomas Jolmes, 4-Thibaud Flament, 3-Demba Bamba, 2-Peato Mauvaka, 1-Jean-Baptiste Gros. Replacements: 16-Pierre Bourgarit, 17-Dany Priso, 18-Sipili Falatea, 19-Thomas Lavault, 20-Ibrahim Diallo, 21-Sekou Macalou, 22-Baptiste Couilloud, 23-Antoine Hastoy