Harumichi Tatekawa will captain Japan when it plays Canada on June 11 in Vancouver, the Japan Rugby Football Union announced Wednesday, after captain-elect Shota Horie withdrew from the tour party.
Having named an initial 33-man squad on Monday, the JRFU has decided 10 players will remain in Japan and rejoin the squad on June 13 ahead of the tests against Scotland on June 18 and 25.
With Horie one of the 10 players rested, Tatekawa will lead a 25-man squad against Japan’s oldest international rival after two players — Kyosuke Horie and Shokei Kin — were promoted from a list of 10 stand-by players.
“Captain Horie won’t be taking part in the trip to Canada but there are lots of players who experienced last year’s World Cup, so I’ll ask for their help to bring out the personal qualities the other players have,” Tatekawa said in a press release.
“The coaching staff is the same as the Sunwolves, who have been with us all this time, so we’ll communicate and look to have a good preparation to beat Canada.”
While Horie was upset to be missing the trip, he vowed to do all he could in his new role as Brave Blossoms captain.
“I’m extremely honored to be named the captain. I’m looking to giving 100 percent on the things I can do,” he said.
“With regard to the match against Canada, I’ve decided to forgo the trip after checking on my physical condition and speaking to Mark Hammett, the interim head coach.
“I’ll freshen up both physically and mentally and aim to get myself in a good condition ahead of the match against Scotland.”
Back-row forwards Kyosuke Horie and Kin owe their inclusion to the withdrawal of lock Hitoshi Ono and No. 8s Ryu Koliniasi Holani and Amanaki Lelei Mafi.
Ono was banned from the game following his head-butt against the Brumbies last Saturday, while Mafi and Holani are among the 10 staying in Japan.
The other players who will join the squad in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, later in the month are Hendrik Tui, Kentaro Kodama, Male Sa’u, Ryota Nakamura, Ryuji Noguchi and Karne Hesketh.
As to what type of game the Brave Blossoms will play, Horie said he expected it to be similar to Japan’s Super Rugby franchise.
“I believe the strategy and tactics will be the same as the Sunwolves as their head coach Mark Hammett will be in charge,” he said.
“My role is to provide support to those who have yet to experience Sunwolves’ rugby and make things function as a team.”
Forwards: Kensuke Hatakeyama, Masataka Mikami, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Keita Inagaki, Takeshi Kizu, Futoshi Mori, Kazuhiko Usami, Naohiro Kotaki, Kotaro Yatabe, Taiyo Ando, Yoshiya Hosoda, Hiroki Yamamoto, Shokei Kin, Kyosuke Horie.
Backs: Fumiaki Tanaka, Kaito Shigeno, Keisuke Uchida, Kosei Ono, Rikiya Matsuda, Harumichi Tatekawa, Yu Tamura, Mifiposeti Paea, Kotaro Matsushima, Tim Bennetts, Yasutaka Sasakura.