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Japan vs Wallabies: See how Australia got home in tight battle with Brave Blossoms

23rd October, 2021
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Japan

23

Match Complete

Australia

32

78
JAP23 : 32AUS

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Expert
23rd October, 2021
391
8413 Reads

Japan

23

Match Complete

Australia

32

78C. McInerney
Y. Tamura73
Y. Tamura56
R. Nakamura55
51R. Leota
42T. Tupou
40Q. Cooper
R. Matsuda32
R. Matsuda26
L. Lemeki25
23Q. Cooper
21J. Petaia
R. Matsuda15
8Q. Cooper
6T. Wright

2
Tries
5
2
Conversions
2
3
Penalty Goals
1
0
Field Goals
0

Show Preview

Australia begin their Spring Tour of the northern hemisphere by taking on Japan at Showa Denko Dome. The Wallabies will be aiming for their fifth straight win while the Blossoms will know that a win here will help their desires to join The Rugby Championship no end. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 3:30pm (AEDT).

Dave Rennie has made four changes to his starting XV – two up front and two in the backs. In the pack, Matt Philip will join the second row whilst his Rebels team mate Rob Leota will start in the back row.

Tom Wright is back on the wing and Hunter Paisami will replace Samu Kerevi in the centres with Kerevi still recovering from injury.

While Paisami was available for selection in the final four test of The Rugby Championship, he couldn’t regain his spot as Kerevi put in great performance after great performance. It is rumoured that Paisami considered not even touring this Spring, so frustrated was he at Rennie not bringing him back into the squad but he will play today and will be keen to show the coach what he’s been missing.

There are stories that this could be Quade Cooper’s last game of 2021 for the Wallabies as he might have to return to his Japanese club instead of heading to Europe. Whatever the case, he’ll continue in the same composed manner and his game management will be crucial as the Wallabies look to stamp their control on the game.

Japan coach, Jamie Joseph, has caught many by surprise by selecting three Australian born players in his starting line up. Lock Jack Cornelsen will be joined by Ben Gunter and Dylan Riley

Despite being a two-time Brisbane club rugby premiership winner with the University of Queensland, Cornelsen couldn’t get a Super Rugby contract and so headed to Japan in 2018. It’s a good example of the growing connections between Australian and Japanese rugby but there are some who feel it’s odd that Australians who have been playing club rugby in Japan for just a few years will now be trying to defeat the Wallabies.

In the back row, Kazuki Himeno will have a crucial role at No 8. He’s a strong ball runner and Japan will need him to get them on the front foot. If he can break the gain line consistently then that will give Japan’s fast, creative backs some quick ball to play with and that could be a problem for Australia.

This match is more than just a one off Test. Japan are keen to join The Rugby Championship and having lost their Super Rugby participation, internationals like these are crucial opportunities.

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As Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos commented recently “In order to take the discussions [about Japan] into a decision, [the SANZAAR nations] have a commitment to play the Japanese on a more frequent basis and use that over the next couple of years as a performance metric.”

Prediction
The Blossoms have never beaten the Wallabies and that is unlikely to change today but the rapid pace of the Japanese style of play could definitely cause the Aussie defence some problems.

Overall though the Wallabies will have too much power up front and should be much more accurate in their attack than the Japanese.

Wallabies by 10.

Game information
Venue: Showa Denko Dome, Oita, Japan
Kick-off: 3:30pm (AEDT)
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Japan $4.90, Australia $1.17 (odds via PlayUp)
Referee: Paul Williams

Teams
Australia
1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Rob Leota, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Nic White, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Andrew Kellaway, 12. Hunter Paisami, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Reece Hodge

Reserves
16. Connal McInerney, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. James O’Connor, 23. Jordan Petaia

Japan
1. Keita Inagaki, 2. Atsushi Sakate, 3. Koo Ji-won, 4. Jack Cornelsen, 5. James Moore, 6. Ben Gunter, 7. Pieter Labuschagne (c), 8. Kazuki Himeno, 9. Yukuta Nagare, 10. Rikiya Matsuda, 11. Siosaia Fifita, 12. Ryoto Nakamura, 13. Tim Lafaele, 14. Lomano Lemeki, 15. Semisi Masirewa

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Reserves
16. Yusuke Niwai, 17. Craig Millar, 18. Asaeli Ai Valu, 19. Michael Leitch, 20. Tevita Tatafu, 21. Naoto Saito, 22. Yu Tamura, 23. Dylan Riley

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