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Japan change six and ensure Leitch ban, whereas Tonga alter seven


Japan have made six adjustments as they appear to bounce again from final weekend’s residence loss to Samoa with this Saturday’s conflict in opposition to Tonga. The 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists had been pipped 24-22 by the Samoans in Sapporo in a sport the place they misplaced Michael Leitch to a purple card.

Having now been handed a two-match ban in keeping with coach Jamie Joseph, which might see Leitch unavailable till the August 26 match in opposition to Italy, this enforced absence of the back-rower is among the half-dozen alterations that the Japanese have confirmed for his or her second warm-up sport, a gathering with the Tongans in Osaka.

Three of the adjustments are within the pack with Asaeli Valu for Ji-won Gu at tighthead, Uwe Helu for James Moore at lock, and Ben Gunter for the suspended Leitch within the again row.

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Within the backs, Naoto Saito is at scrum-half for Yutaka Ngare, Tomoki Osada at inside centre for Shogo Nakano, and Semisi Masirewa is on the wing for Kotaro Matsushima.

Tonga, who had been defeated 36-20 by Fiji in Lautoka of their opening pre-World Cup warm-up match, have made seven adjustments.

4 are within the pack with Samiuela Moli at hooker instead of Siua Maile, Steve Mafi at lock for Sam Lousi, Sione Havili at openside for Solomone Funaki, and Lopeti Timani at No8 with Vaea Fifita transferring to blindside and Tanginoa Halaifonua dropping out.

Within the backs, William Havili is at out-half for Otumaka Mausia, Pita Ahki for Malakai Fekitoa at inside centre, and Kyren Taumoefolau for Effective Inisi on the wing.



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