Pieter Labuschagne will captain hosts Japan in their crucial Pool A World Cup clash with Ireland in Shizuoka on Saturday.
Labuschagne takes the armband from regular captain Michael Leitch, who has surprisingly been named on the bench for Saturday’s match. It will be the second time the South African-born flank captains Japan, after also leading them in his Test debut against Fiji.
Japan have been boosted by the return to fitness of Amanaki Mafi, who sat out their win over Russia. Mafi replaces Leitch but starts at No 8, causing Kazuki Himeno to shift to flank.
There is also a change in the back three as Lomano Lemeki is dropped to the bench, with William Tupou moving from fullback to wing. Ryohei Yamanaka starts at fullback.
The 38-year-old lock Luke Thompson starts in place of Wimpie van der Walt, while tighthead prop Jiwon Koo comes in for Asaeli Ai Valu.
Japan – 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 William Tupou, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (c), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Lomano Lemeki.
Photo: Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images