Japan has announced a 37-man squad for their upcoming Autumn Tour, which will start against the Wallabies.
Kubota Spears flanker Pieter Labuschagne will captain the side for the international fixtures, which will kick off against Dave Rennie's men at Showa Denko Dome in Oita on October 23.
This was confirmed at the start of the month, with Labuschagne replacing Michael Leitch, who retains his spot in the squad.
“Michael Leitch has been a great captain for this team. There is such a heavy workload as Captain and after having played in three World Cups, and the amount of rugby he has played for Japan, we want him to be in a position to focus purely on his rugby and give him a break from the responsibility of leading the team," Brave Blossoms Head Coach, Jamie Joseph said
“Lappies captained the side in 2019 and did an awesome job. He’s a natural leader, confident in how he deals with referees, he knows the game very well and leads by the way he plays. The support from Ryoto Nakamura is going to be crucial. There is already great balance between these guys and the wider leadership group. Ryoto has gone from strength to strength since I’ve been coaching Japan and his leadership is very apparent at Suntory.”
Suntory Sungoliath utility back Ryoto Nakamura has been named vice captain, with the 30-year-old establishing himself as a mainstay of the side.
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Australian-born trio Ben Gunter, Jack Cornelsen and Dylan Riley retain their spot in the squad after it was trimmed down from a 44-player training group last month.
They are joined by Highlanders number eight Kazuki Himeno, who was named Super Rugby Aoteatoa Rookie of the Year after a breakout season for the club.
Japan will head to Europe after their match with the Wallabies, facing off against Ireland on Nov. 6, Portugal on Nov. 13 and Scotland on Nov. 20.
Japan squad to face Wallabies, Autumn Tour
Props: Shunsuke Asaoka, Keita Inagaki, Asaeli Ai Valu, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Jiwon Gu, Isileli Nakajima, Craig Millar
Hookers: Atsushi Sakate, Yusuke Niwai, Kosuke Horikoshi
Locks: Daichi Akiyama, James Moore, Liaki Moli
Flankers: Ben Gunter, Jack Cornelsen, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Ryota Hasegawa, Pieter Labuschagne (c), Michael Leitch
No 8s: Tevita Tatafu, Kazuki Himeno, Shota Fukui
Halfbacks: Naoto Saito, Kaito Shigeno, Yutaka Nagare
Flyhalfs: Yu Tamura, Rikiya Matsuda
Midfielders/Centres: Ryoto Nakamura, Timothy Lafaele, Dylan Riley
Wings/Fullbacks: Taichi Takahashi, Jone Naikabula, Shogo Nakano, Siosala Fifita, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Semisi Masirewa, Ryohei Yamanaka