Japan Make 4 Changes for England Showdown in Nice

Japan players celebrate after their match against Chile in Toulouse, France, on Sunday.

NICE, France (Reuters) — Japan have beefed up their forward pack and picked center Tomoki Osada among the backs to face England in their second Rugby World Cup Pool D fixture at the Stade de Nice on Sunday.

Coach Jamie Joseph has brought in hooker Shota Horie to replace Atsushi Sakate and flanker Pieter Labuschagne is preferred to Kanji Shimokawa.

Captain Kazuki Himeno also returns to the team after being a late withdrawal from the side that beat Chile 42-12 in their opening game.

It means Jack Cornelsen moves from number eight to lock, where he replaces Amanaki Saumaki.

Osada comes into the team at outside center in place of Dylan Riley as Joseph largely sticks with the selection that claimed their seventh World Cup pool stage win in a row dating back to the 2015 tournament.

Himeno captains the side for the fourth time, while ex-skipper Michael Leitch will become Japan’s most capped player at a World Cup with his 15th appearance, edging ahead of Luke Thompson.

“We are expecting a lot of pressure, it [kicking] is a big part of their game,” Joseph told reporters. “[We] have got to be good enough to catch those balls under extreme pressure.

“It’s going to be one of the big parts of the game that we have got to improve on. We know that and have done a lot of training on it all week.”

Joseph said Uruguay’s strong showing in their 27-12 loss to France on Thursday should give underdog sides plenty of encouragement.

“Their performance is inspiring for tier two teams,” he said. “I really enjoyed that match. England will be a handful in the way they play the game.

“They play differently to everyone else at the World Cup and they control the game well. They control the kicking game and set-piece and for tier two teams it is always a challenge.”

There are 13 players in the matchday squad from the side that lost 52-13 to England in November last year.