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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Kirwan decides Japan's Cup squad
Japan wing Daisuke Ohata
Wing Daisuke Ohata's injury withdrawal is a huge blow to Japan
Japan coach John Kirwan has named his 30-man squad, plus six back-up players, for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

The 16 forwards include captain Takuro Miuchi, but Kobe Steel wing Daisuke Ohata - the world's leading try scorer - is ruled out with an Achilles injury.

The squad includes four New Zealanders and three Tongans, with another Kiwi and a South Korean amongst the six emergency travelling reserves.

Japan are drawn in Pool B with Wales, Fiji, Canada and Australia.


Following Friday's 69-10 win over Asia Barbarians, they travel to Italy on Sunday and meet the Azzurri in a warm-up game on 18 August, before facing Portugal a week later.

Their opening World Cup tie is against Australia in Lyon on 8 September, before they move to Toulouse to play Fiji (12 September).

The Millennium Stadium showdown with Wales is next up on 20 September, with Japan's final pool game against Canada in Bordeaux on 25 September.

Japan coach John Kirwan
This team carries the dreams and hopes of a nation that is about to explode as far as rugby is concerned

Japan coach John Kirwan

"We have a big responsibility at the moment, not only for Asian rugby, but especially for Japanese rugby," said All Blacks legend Kirwan.

"This team carries the dreams and hopes of a nation that is about to explode as far as rugby is concerned.

"We need a great World Cup, we need players to be great, and then we can all rejoice the success.

"Italy is a very important game, we need to play a game plan we are going to use later in the tournament.

"To win, you must completely understand your opposition. We need to out-think and out-play our opposition. To do that, you must use your brains more than your bodies."

The overseas players in the squad are locks Luke Thompson and Luatangi Vatuvei, flankers Hare Makiri and Philip O'Reily, centres Bryce Robins and Nataliela Oto, and wing Christian Loamanu.

Kiwi outside-half James Arlidge - who made a successful debut for Japan in April against South Korea with two tries and a perfect 10 conversions - and Korean scrum-half Kim Chul-Won are amongst the six back-ups.

Japan World Cup squad:

Forwards: Ryo Yamamura (Yamaha Motor), Masahito Yamamoto (Toyota Motor), Tomokazu Soma (Sanyo), Tatsukichi Nishiura (Coca Cola), Yuji Matsubara (Kobe Steel), Taku Inokuchi (Toshiba), Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba), Takanori Kumagae (NEC), Luatangi Vatuvei (Kintetsu/TGA), Luke Thompson (Kintetsu/NZL), Takuro Miuchi (NEC, capt), Yasunori Watanabe (Toshiba), Hajime Kiso (Yamaha Motor), Hare Makiri (Fukuoka/NZL), Philip O'Reilly (Sanyo/NZL), Takamichi Sasaki (Suntory).

Backs: Yuki Yatomi (Yamaha Motor), Tomoki Yoshida (Toshiba), Eiji Ando (NEC), Kousei Ono (Fukuoka), Shotaro Onishi (Yamaha Motor), Nataniela Oto (Toshiba/TGA), Yuta Imamura (Kobe Steel), Koji Taira (Suntory), Bryce Robins (Ricoh/NZL), AN Other, Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory), Kosuke Endo (Toyota Motor), Christian Loamanu (Saitama Institute of Technology/TGA), Go Aruga (Suntory).

Back up players: Yusuke Aoki (Suntory), Takahiro Sugiura (Fukuoka Sanix), Yuta Inose (NEC), Ryota Asano (NEC), Kim Chul-Won (Kintetsu/KOR), James Arlidge (NTT/NZL).

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