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Captain Michael Leitch says Japan are ready as they ready to take on Russia in Friday’s Rugby World Cup opener to inspire the host country.
Japan conquer Samoa South Africa and the United States in the 2015 tournament missing out in the eight.
«We have got the chance to inspire Japan again. We have trained well, prepared well and this is Japan’s best World Cup ,» said Leitch, 30.
Row Amanaki Mafi and wing Kenki Fukuoka will miss the match to Japan.
Both picked up accidents from the heavy defeat South Africa earlier this month, with Fukuoka, scorer of 21 tries in 34 Tests, struggling with a calf injury and Mafi hurting his shoulder.
Russia coach Lyn Jones, a former Wales manager, has included Sale prop Valery Morozov within his starting XV, one of two players who play with their club outside of Russia.
Secondly row Andrei Ostrikov, that moved to Grenoble at the season’s conclusion from Sale, is the other.
Captains the side.
Leitch states that the attention on the Western group is unlike anything that he has undergone with the Brave Blossoms.
«This is no ordinary turnout,» he told a packed media conference.
«I’m so nervous I’ve been making all sorts of mistakes in practice – there is so many people and so many cameras. But I am very proud to be part of this World Cup and to be captain of this Japan rugby team.»
The match will be staged at the Tokyo Stadium.
Japan beat Russia 32-27 past November from the groups’ latest assembly and have been set the target of making a first quarter-final by coach Jamie Joseph.
Japan trainer Jamie Joseph:»I don’t read Japanese newspapers but I’ve never really thought us to be the favourites for this game.
«I would say we’re going into this Test match and if we don’t play our best we are likely to struggle.
«The group has prepared and before and now we look forward to Friday night»
Japan: Tupou; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Lemeki; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki Valu; Moore, Van der Walt; Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno.
Replacements: Sakate Ji-won Tui, Tanaka, Matsuda, Yamanaka
Russia: Artemyev Ostroushko Golosnitskiy; Kushnarev, Dorofeev; Morozov, Selskii, Gotovtsev, Ostrikov, Fedotko Gadzhiev, Vavilin
Replacements: Matveev Bitiev Sychev, Perov, Gaisin, Sozonov
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