Despite his little experience within the Japanese selection, it is the usual winger of Fijian origin Semisi Masirewa (31 years old. 4 salt) who was preferred to start at the No. 15 position. Coach Jamie Joseph also innovated at flyhalf with the surprise start of Rikiya Matsuda (29 years old, 32 years old) who will play the first match of his career in the World Cup in this strategic position. The latter will also be the goalscorer for his team. “He is an excellent manager, he has experience and we trust him completely” declared Jamie Joseph to justify his choice.
The latter, however, will still be deprived of its third wing line Pieter Labuschagne who will serve his second and final match of suspension having been excluded in the 7th minute of the lost match (35-12) against Fiji on August 5. Nine of the fifteen starters were already present during the previous World Cup. Former captain Michael Leitch, who will start this match on the wing of the 3rd row, will play his fourth World Cup and will join Luke Thompson and Yukio Motoki, the only Japanese players to have so many participations.
The Japanese, surprising quarter-finalists of the 2019 World Cup, and who have openly announced their aim for final victory, will successively face England, Samoa and Argentina in this same group D.
Japan vs Chile team line-up:
Masirewa - Matsushima, Riley, Nakamura, Naikabula - (o) Matsuda, (m) Nagare - Shimokawa, Himeno (cap.), Leitch - Fakatava, Cornelsen - Gu, Sakate, Inagaki
Subs: Horie, Millar, Valu, Dearns, Fukui, Sato, Osada, Lemeki