Saturday, May 8, 2010

TEST MATCH RUGBY: Japan and Asia 5 Nations

Arabian Gulf v Japan in Tokyo (WCQ Asia R2; Asia5Nations)

Venue: Prince Chichibu Stadium


Japan looks certain favourite to take the Asia 1 spot at the Rugby World Cup finals. Their 71-13 win over Korea last weekend will cause alarm bells to ring throughout Asia.

This game will be huge for the visiting Arabian Gulf side. Their record against Japan is not good. The last time they played in Japan, in 2008, they lost by a huge 114-6! This will be their third game in three weeks, two of them away. They did defeat Hong Kong at home 16-9 last weekend but Japan will be a different prospect.

Japanese coach John Kirwan has rung the changes from last week's side. “We want to give everyone an opportunity,” said Kirwan. “But we have to balance not putting the World Cup at risk.” So there is a smattering of experienced players. The only real hope the Gulf has is that this Japanese combination will not work. That I can't see happening.

Another preview of this game here

Previous Encounters
03.05.2008 Japan 114-6 in Osaka (Asia5Nations)
16.04.2006 Japan 82-9 in Tokyo (WCQ Asia R4, Division 1)
20.04.2003 Japan XV 79-5 in Colombo (Asia Tournament, Pool A)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Japan 1st, Arabian Gulf 3rd

Prediction: Japan by 65 points



Arabian Gulf
15.James Love (Hartpury College, England)
14.Joshua Sherrin
13.Trent Eastgate (Dubai Dragons)
12.Taif Al Delamie (Lansdowne FC, Ireland)
11.Steven Smith (Dubai Hurricanes)
10.Duncan Murray (Dubai Hurricanes)
9.John MacDonald (Cardiff University, Wales)
8.David Clark (Dubai Exiles)
7.Byron Kraemer (Dubai Dragons)
6.Karl Sutcliffe (Bahrain RFC)
5.Jason Voyce (Muscat RFC)
4.Michael Cox-Hill, Capt. (Dubai Exiles)
3.Nicholas Croker (Doha RFC)
2.Rory Power (Bahrain RFC)
1.Michael Riley (Dubai Exiles)
16. Daniel Heal (Dubai Dragons)
17. Mark Gathercole (Dubai Exiles)
18. Steven Little (Dubai Dragons)
19. Edward Le Pine Williams (Dubai Dragons)
20. Sean Hurley (Dubai Dragons)
21. Paul Beard
22. Ross Stapleton (Bahrain RFC)

Head Coach: Bruce Birtwistle

Adapted from


15. Kaoru Matsushita (Toyota) Age 26, 2 tests
14. Kosuke Endo (Toyota) 29, 26
13. Alisi Tupuailei (Canon) 29, 3
12. Ryo Kanazawa (Ricoh) 28, New cap
11. Yasunori Nagatomo (Suntory) 25, 1
10. James Arlidge (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales) 30, 17
9. Tomoki Yoshida (Toshiba) 28, 20
8. Takashi Kikutani, Capt. (Toyota) 30, 29
7. Sione Vatuvei (Sanyo) 27, 1
6. Masakazu Toyota (Coca Cola) 23, 6
5. Toshizumi Kitagawa (Toyota) 29, 26
4. Luke Thompson (Kintetsu) 29, 19
3. Shinsuke Nakamura (Suntory) 22, 2
2. Hiroki Yuhara (Toshiba) 26, 1
1. Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe Steel) 27, 11
16. Takeshi Kizu (Tokai Univ.) 21, 1
17. Nozomu Fujita (Honda) 25, 1
18 Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba) 32, 38
19. Touetsu Taufa (Kintetsu) 29, 10
20. Koji Wada (Toyota) 25, New cap
21. Ryohei Yamanaka (Waseda Univ.) 21, New cap
22. Ryan Nicholas (Suntory) 30, 18

Head Coach: John Kirwan

Adapted from

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