Mafi at no.8 for Brave Blossoms

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rebels backrower Amanaki Mafi will line up against some familiar faces on Saturday, named in Japan's team to face the Wallabies.

Mafi will be part of an intimidating backrow, that also includes former Chiefs flanker Michael Leitch.

The Brave Blossoms are missing some of their X-factor players, lncluding Sunwolves superstar Akihito Yamada, but will have Sevens Olympican Lomano Lemeki in their starting XV.

Their second row has also been hit with injuries, with Kazuki Himeno and Hell Uwe getting the nod for the Yokohama match.

Former Force squad member Akihito Yamada scored a double. Photo: Getty ImagesThere will be plenty of eyes on their building halves combination, going up against the duo of Nick Phipps and Reece Hodge on Saturday afternoon.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph said the selection of Rikiya Mastuda  alongside veteran nine Shiro Tanaka would be a big test for the emerging flyhalf, with usual starter Yu Tamura on the bench.

Joseph said he was looking forward to seeing what Himeno would bring in that lock spot.

"Himeno is a good player, a lock who can play for 80 minutes and show 100 per cent power in any position," he said.

"I like his rugby and this time he will learn a lot by doing this experience."

The Wallabies take on Japan on Saturday November 4, kicking off at 2:40pm local, 4:40pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.


Japan to take on the Wallabies

1. Keita Inagaki

2. Shota Horie

3. Takuma Asahara

4. Kazuki Himeno

5. Hell Uwe

6. Michael Leitch (Captain)

7. Shunsuke Nunomaki

8. Amanaki Mafi

9. Shiro Tanaka

10. Rikiya Matsuda

11. Ryuji Noguchi

12. Harumichi Tatekawa

13. Timothy Lafaele

14. Lomano Lava Lemeki

15. Kotaro Matsushima


16. Atsushi Sakate 

17. Koki Yamamoto

18. Asaeli Ai Valu

19. Wimpie Van Der Walt

20. Fetuani Lautaimi

21. Yutaka Nagare

22. Yu Tamura

23. Sione Teaupa