BURNABY, CANADA – The Japan side to play Tonga for third place in the Pacific Nations Cup shows five changes and one positional switch from the side that started the narrow loss to Fiji last Wednesday.
Michael Leitch captains the side while vice captain Ayumu Goromaru is set to play his 50th test for his country as Japan looks to even its test record against Tonga at eight wins apiece.
Veterans Hitoshi Ono and Ryu Koliniasi Holani return in the pack, while Japan coach Eddie Jones has reshuffled the backs after criticizing them for their running lines and communication in the loss to the Flying Fijians.
Kosei Ono gets a chance to press his claims for a spot in the Rugby World Cup squad as he is handed the No. 10 jersey for the game at Swangard Stadium with Harumichi Tatekawa moving to inside center.
“We need to concentrate on our own game plan, control the game at 9 and 10 and correct the things that went wrong against Fiji,” Ono said.
Yoshikazu Fujita and Karne Hesketh are restored on the wings with Kenki Fukuoka and Akihito Yamada dropping out of the match-day 23.
Hayden Hopgood and Hendrik Tui are both named on the bench as are Tim Bennetts and Craig Wing, whose last game for Japan was against Scotland in November 2013.
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