• Kyodo


Japan is “excited” about its upcoming test match at Twickenham against an England rugby team led by former Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones, captain Michael Leitch said Wednesday.

Prior to departing with the squad from Tokyo’s Haneda airport, the 30-year-old flanker said the 11th-ranked Brave blossoms were eager to measure themselves against world No. 4 England.

“We’re looking forward to playing against one of the best sides in the world. It’s exciting,” Leitch said.

“We’re also looking forward to facing Eddie (Jones).”

Winger Kenki Fukuoka said the test against England would be important preparation for Rugby World Cup 2019 matches against Pool A opponents Ireland and Scotland.

“Our matches with European sides hold the key to the World Cup. It’s important to find out how we stack up against them,” the 26-year-old said.

Japan will play England at Twickenham on Nov. 17 followed by a test against 2019 pool opponents Russia, ranked 19, in Gloucester on Nov. 24.

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