Published: Sun, September 01, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Yamashita misses out on Japan squad for Rugby World Cup

Yamashita misses out on Japan squad for Rugby World Cup

If Squire is to return to the All Blacks environment as an injury replacement at the Rugby World Cup, it would be his final games in the black jersey, as he has signed a two-year deal to join Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes after the Cup.

The Brave Blossoms will be at full strength when they face Russian Federation in the tournament's curtain raiser in Tokyo on Sept 20 after captain Michael Leitch returned from injury at the recent Pacific Nations Cup.

This year's Japanese team includes a record 15 descendants of non-Japanese players, including lock Luke Thompson, who could become the sixth-oldest player to have competed at a Rugby World Cup.

So, if the model is accurate this will be the Rugby World Cup when the northern hemisphere teams bounce back after a awful 2015 tournament.

What is guaranteed, though, is that Japan will be no country for young men, particularly when it comes to the high-pressure quarterfinals onwards.

Forward Takuya Kitade, one of three hookers in the squad along with Shota Horie and Atsushi Sakate, was the only uncapped player.

The trio were also part of the successful campaigns in 2011 and 2015.

"After what has been a really tough year for me mentally and physically, and after speaking with people I trust on whether I should make myself available again for the All Blacks, I felt I wasn't ready just yet physically or mentally for the pressures of test match rugby", Squire wrote.

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"The intangible asset we have is that we are very tight as a group", said Joseph, who as a player represented New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup and Japan four years later.

Warren Gatland's Wales side fits the model for a team that could win a Rugby World Cup.

They will also play Ireland, Samoa and Scotland in Pool A.

He ended up playing 59 tests for the All Blacks from 2003-11.

Japan celebrate their shock victory over the Springboks at the World Cup in 2015.

"The challenges were increasing player depth, to develop players in time for the 2019 World Cup and to create a winning mentality".

"We're under no doubt that the South Africa game is an absolutely different level and so is the World Cup", Joseph said.

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