Last year’s World Cup heroes Akihito Yamada and Yoshikazu Fujita will not be travelling to Brazil for the Rio Olympics after they were omitted from Japan’s 12-man squad for rugby sevens.
Yusaku Kuwazuru will captain the team announced by the Japan Rugby Football Union on Sunday. Japan faces title favorite New Zealand as well as Britain and Kenya in Pool C in the 12-team tournament scheduled for Aug. 9-11.
Kenki Fukuoka, who played for the Brave Blossoms against Scotland in their only defeat at the Rugby World Cup last year in England, made the cut. Yamada and Fujita scored a try each against Samoa and the United States, respectively, at that tournament.
Yamada, who played for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby , was seen as a trump by head coach Tomohiro Segawa for his blistering pace. The 30-year-old had the least time with the sevens team, however, and also hurt his left calf in late June to miss out on the tour of Australia this month.
Japan qualified for Rio through winning the Asia Rugby Sevens Qualifier last November, beating Hong Kong 24-10 in the final.
The 12 players were the last to be confirmed for the 331-member Japanese delegation for this summer’s Olympic Games.
Two back-up members for the sevens’ team will be announced at a later date.
Kameli Seojima, Yusaku Kuwazuru (c), Lote Tuqiri, Katsuyuki Sakai, Shohei Toyoshima, Lomano Lemeki , Masakatsu Hikosaka, Kazushi Hano, Teruya Goto, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Kenki Fukuoka, Kazuhiro Goya