Hong Kong enter the fray Saturday as the Asia Rugby Championship enters Round 3. Japan Vs Hong Kong
Leigh Jones’ team have travelled to Tokyo where they will take on Japan at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, a Brave Blossoms side that has opened their account with two straight bonus-point wins.
“There are two ways of looking at things,” Hong Kong assistant coach Andrew Hall said Friday of his side’s delayed start.
“It’s a chance of seeing what Japan have been up to and it’s an advantage not going in unseen. But it is also a disadvantage as they are match ready and hitting their straps based on last week’s win.”
Jones has included five new caps in his 23-man squad with prop Dylan Rogers and flanker Phil Whitfield included in the starting XV and prop Angus Dixon, lock Kyle Sullivan and flyhalf Robbie Keith on the reserves bench.
And the former Japan assistant coach said it was no secret what his team had to do.
“If we allow as much three-second ruck ball as South Korea then it will be a tough day at the office. We need to slow down and spoil their primary ball. But at the same time quick ball is the type of game we are trying to develop. So we are not just here to spoil. We want to join the party.”
Japan beat South Korea 47-29 in Incheon and 80-10 in Tokyo and it will another new-look side when they take the field Saturday.
Jamie Joseph’s run-on XV shows seven changes and two positional switches from the team that started last weekend’s win as the Brave Blossoms balance the withdrawal of several players and the return of a pair of experienced campaigners.
“We have made changes and given new players a chance to show their abilities against a team that is bigger and different to Korea,” said Joseph.
Harumichi Tatekawa returns from injury and will lead a side containing one new cap in outside centre Kanto Shikao.
The pair will play outside a new halfback pairing in Kaito Shigeno and Rikiya Matsuda, who moves from inside centre to flyhalf.
Meanwhile up front, Shokei Kin comes in to partner Malgene Ilaua and Shuhei Matsuhashi in the back row and there is a familiar name on the bench – where Jospeh has opted for a 6-2 split – in Shota Horie.
“We lost (Takeshi) Hino to (the Sunwolves in) Argentina so it proved an opportunity to bring him (Horie) in. He’ll be a bit rusty. But the two props either side of him are very young so it will be good for him to be with the young guys.
Story By : Rich Freeman
M3 Japan Vs Hong Kong Asia Rugby Championship
Prince Chichibu Meymorial Rugby Ground
Ko: 2:00 PM (Tokyo time +9GMT)
Watch it Live:
In Japan: Jsports
in New Zealand : Sky sports
In Asia: www.rugbypass.com
Rest of the world: AsiaRugbyLive
Japan Squad | M3 Japan Vs Hong Kong
Hong Kong Squad | M3 Japan Vs Hong Kong
Ben HIGGINS (prop), Angus DIXON (prop), Jamie TSANG (hooker), Ben ROBERTS (hooker), JW MARKLEY (hooker), Alex NG Wai-shing (prop), Dylan ROGERS (prop), Adrian GRIFFITHS (lock), James CUNNINGHAM (lock), Kyle SULLIVAN (lock), Fin FIELD (lock), Will EVERSFIELD (lock), Matt LAMMING (flanker), Phil WHITFIELD (flanker), Toby FENN (flanker), Nick HEWSON (flanker), Dan FALVEY (no.8), Thomas LAMBOLEY (no. 8), Cado LEE Ka-to (scrumhalf), Jamie HOOD (scrumhalf), Jason JEYAM (scrumhalf), Matt ROSSLEE (Fly-half/centre), Robbie KEITH (fly-half), Ben RIMENE (fly-half), Lex KALECA (centre), Tyler SPITZ (centre), Ally MACLAY (centre), Charles HIGSON-SMITH (wing/centre), Seb ALFONSI (wing), YIU Kam-shing (wing), Rowan VARTY (wing), Alex McQUEEN (full-back).
Also to train:
Tom McQUEEN (wing), Jack PARFITT (prop), Adam FULLGRABE (prop), Alex HARRIS (hooker), Tony WONG Ho-yeung (flanker), Joey CHEUNG Ho-yin (flanker).
Matt WYATT (wing / full back), Mark COEBERGH (scrumhalf), Callum McFEAT-SMITH (prop).