• Kyodo

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Japan has suffered a double injury blow with Kubota Spears center Harumichi Tatekawa and Panasonic Wild Knights wing Akihito Yamada dropping out of the national squad ahead of the two-test series with Ireland.

Tatekawa, who is co-captain of the squad along with Panasonic hooker Shota Horie, missed last Saturday’s 33-21 win over Romania with a calf strain.

Initial reports suggested the 27-year-old, who has only just returned from a knee injury, would be fit for the first test against Ireland on June 17. But he will now have to watch the game at Shizuoka’s Ecopa Stadium from the stands.

Yamada, who scored the Brave Blossoms’ opening try in the win over Romania, was taken to hospital after the game for a scan on a hamstring injury, which has proved worse than the initial prognosis.

The Japan Rugby Football Union said that Teikyo University fullback Seiya Ozaki and Kobe Kobelco Steelers utility back Ryohei Yamanaka have been called up as replacements for Jamie Joseph’s side, which is currently in camp in Shizuoka ahead of the Irish tests.

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