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Japan back-row forward Amanaki Lelei Mafi admits that the absence of injured Rugby World Cup stars including Ayumu Goromaru and Michael Leitch hurt the Brave Blossoms in their two test-match defeats to Scotland.

But the Tonga-born man mountain has backed their youthful replacements to fight for a place in the 2019 World Cup team on home soil after a narrow 21-16 loss to the Scots in front of 34,073 at Ajinomoto Stadium on Saturday night.

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