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Japan here for 15s exposure

Paulini Ratulailai
Sunday, March 04, 2018

THE Junior Japan under-20 rugby team is in the country train and acclimatise ahead of next week's World Rugby to Pacific Challenge in Suva.

The team has been in Suva for a month.

Team director Tokashi Yamagami said the challenge would be a platform for their preparation towards the World Rugby U20 Championship in France.

"We want to try out our rugby strategies and get our techniques right," Yamagami said.

"This Pacific challenge will test our fitness whether we have been doing our homework or not. We will monitor each player's strength and weakness and analyse it to improve their performance before their next match.

"We have experienced players and having our three Tongan players in squad will add flavour to our game plan."

He said playing against Pacific countries was competitive and challenging because island teams were strong and smart.

"We have tough forwards who are defensive and courageous."

Tongan-born flanker Faulua Makisi, Siosaia Fifita and Tevita Tatafu look forward to another Pacific rivalry in the tournament.

With Rugby World Cup 2019 to be played in Japan, some of the U20 players will aim for promotion to their national team for the tournament.

The 2018 World Rugby Pacific Challenge tournament will be at the ANZ Stadium in Suva from March 9 — 17.

Junior Japan squad: Gakuto Ishida, Shohei Oyama, Rento Tsukayama, Yusuke Yamada, Miyu Arai, Hinata Takei, Yuichiro Taniguchi, Katsuto Kubo, Ryuga Hashimoto, Kaito Aibe, Hisanobu Okayama, Faulua Makisi, Takashi Yukishige, Kanji Shimokawa, Tevita Tatafu, Shinobu Fujiwara, Atora Hondo, Taichi Mano, Hiroto Mamada, Taihei Kusaka, Kanta Shikao, Siosaia Fifita, Yuto Mori, Koga Neduka, Nicholas Honua, Hiroyuki Yamasaki, Tomoya Yamamura, Hideto Niguma.

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