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Wales captain Andy Moore
"We're where we want to be in terms of preperation and team selection."
 real 14k

Wales prop Chris Anthony
"It's good to be back - it's good to get an opportunity."
 real 14k

Japan RFU secretary Koju Toku Masu
"We are at 75-80% strength."
 real 14k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Moore anxious ahead of first Test
Chris Anthony
Prop in a hurry: Chris Anthony is raring to go
Japan v Wales, Sunday, 10 June
Hanazono Ground, Osaka, ko 06:00 BST

Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales

Wales captain Andy Moore admits to being both excited and apprehensive about the prospect of leading his country for the first time on Sunday.

The 27-year-old lock will have the honour of captaining Wales in their 500th international match when they play Japan in the first of two Test matches on tour.

But Moore admitted that the squad's form on the tour is a slight concern; not to mention the speed and strength of their opponents.

Adrian Durston
Adrian Durston will partner Gareth Thomas in midfield
"I have been genuinely surprised at the standard of Japanese rugby," he said.

"We didn't know a great deal about them before this trip, but we've learned a lot since."

The tour got off to the worst possible start with a humiliating 45-41 to club champions Suntory, but the players redeemed themselves on Wednesday with a 33-22 win over a Japan Select XV.

Coach Lyn Howells has selected a team based on form rather than reputations, allowing Bridgend's Adrian Durston and Bath duo Andy Lloyd and Gavin Thomas to win their first Welsh caps.

They line-up in probably the youngest team ever to wear the red shirt - the average age is merely 24.

But Moore insisted that they were all ready for the challenge.

Stephen Jones
Much will depend on Stephen Jones' kicking
"We've been chopping and changing on tour so far, but we're pretty much where we want to be now in terms of preparations and team selection," he said.

"But there's a game next Wednesday as well where the rest of the boys can still push for positions."

According to Japan Rugby Union secretary Koju Toku Masu, Japan will be below strength for Sunday's match - the first home Test match against Wales since 1975.

A dispute between the union and some of the county's top club sides has robbed the coach the chance to select his best possible team.

But the camp remained confident that their game plan based on fast and attacking rugby, would give Wales a stern test.

Moore's only other concern was the state of the pitch in the Hanazono Ground - a venue he said is better suited to club rather than international rugby.

"The pitch is at the end of season stage, but I don't think it'll effect their game plan at all.

"We've obviously got our game plan which we're going to stick to no matter what the conditions," he added.


Wales: K Morgan; M Jones, A Durston, G Thomas, S Williams; S Jones, G Cooper; C Anthony, A Lewis, I Thomas, C Quinnell, A Moore (capt), A Lloyd, G Thomas, G Lewis.

Replacements: S Jones, B Evans, N Budgett, J Ringer, D Peel, G Henson, T Shanklin/J Robinson

Japan: Matsuada; Kurihara, Motoki, Oto, Tuidoraki; Onishi, Murata; Hasegatawa, Sakata (capt), Toyoama, Vaturei, Tanuma, Ito, Sugawara, Saito.

Replacements: Yamamura, Kato, Kubo, Yamamoto, Sonoada, Iawabuchi, Namba

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