Coach Jamie Joseph has made four changes to Japan’s starting lineup for Sunday’s crunch Pool A match against Scotland in Yokohama.
Joseph didn’t alter his side too much from the one that defeated Samoa 38-19, but sprung a couple of surprises with the changes he did make.
In the back division, William Tupou replaces Ryohei Yamanaka at fullback. But it is the omission of left wing Lomano Lemeki that came as a shock.
Lemeki, who was been one of Japan’s best attacking players and was named Man of the Match after the game against Samoa, was dropped in favour of Kenki Fukuoka.
There are two changes to the pack, where lock Luke Thompson and hooker Shota Horie slot back into the lineup at the expense of Wimpie van der Walt and Atsushi Sakate.
Meanwhile, Lappies Labuschagne has been stripped of the captaincy, with that leadership role going back to Michael Leitch.
The match between Japan and Scotland has been subjected to much speculation with fears growing it could be cancelled due to typhoon Hagibis. A row has since broken out between Scotland and tournament organisers, with the Scottish Rugby Union threatening to take legal action if the game is called off.
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