Former Cheetahs and Bulls forward Lappies Labuschagne will lead Japan when he makes his first-ever Test appearance against Fiji in Kamaishi on Saturday.
Labuschagne previously played for the Cheetahs and Vodacom Bulls before signed the Japanese club Kubota Spears in 2016. Additionally, he also represents Japan’s Vodacom Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves.
The 30-year-old became eligible for the Japanese national team after fulfilling World Rugby’s three-year residency law.
Addressing his selection and shock appointment as captain, Labuschagne said: ‘It’s a massive honour and privilege to play in the Brave Blossoms jersey representing a great country like Japan.’
Labuschagne’s compatriot Wimpie van der Walt, who made his Test debut against the Wallabies in 2017, was named on the bench for Saturday’s Pacific Nations clash against Fiji.
Japan – 15 Will Tupou, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 James Moore, 3 Asaeli Ai Valu, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shogo Miura, 18 Yusuke Kizu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Romano Lava Lemeki.