Japan vs Canada RWC 2021 – Pool B Match Preview
Japan Sakura XV open their account at Rugby World Cup 2021 on Sunday 9th October at Okara Park at the Northland Events Centre by taking on the highest-ranked team in Pool B, Canada.
Japan vs Canada – RWC 2021 Preview
Japan – RWC 2021
Japan earned their place at Rugby World Cup 2021 by default after the Asia Rugby Championship was repeatedly postponed and World Rugby eventually awarded Japan Asia’s tournament spot – and in 2022 the national team had successful results away in Australia, and at home against South Africa and Ireland, although they also lost to both sides. Just before the tournament, Japan was heavily beaten by the Black Ferns at Eden Park 95-12.
Japan has not lost to Asian opposition in the XVs game since 2014 – but the world cup is a different playing field.
Head Coach Lesley McKenzie has named her team for the match knowing that the Japanese have only won one pool match in Rugby World Cup history, a 10-5 victory against Sweden in the 1994 tournament in Scotland.
McKenzie said of the most recent match versus the Black Ferns “No, we didn’t play our game against New Zealand and that was part of the preparation. We needed an event that would challenge us and put pressure on us to a level that we hadn’t felt before whether at home or away and that is exactly what that game presented.”
In total, Japan has played Canada twice and lost on both occasions but with the Japanese bidding to win back-to-back RWC matches for the first time (having ended the 2017 tournament with a 44-5 victory over Asian rivals Hong Kong) and on the progress made this year (the Sakura Fifteen won four of their seven tests in 2022), the team will be hoping for an upset against one of the possible RWC title contenders.
On the matchup against Canada, the Japan Head Coach added of her players “I hope they are excited. I hope they are excited to play a really strong adversary. Canada is ranked third in the world and has been strong for many years….
That is a wonderful test for us for what we can do and what we have been preparing for and I am excited to see us in that test.
More than anything else I want to see how we respond to the challenge of our first pool game. I am so excited for that and there is really nothing else in that context. My parents are excited because they get to watch it live back in Canada, but I am excited for our game.”
(Follow all of the RWC 2021 matches here)
Japan Matchday Squad – 9th October 2022
Nineteen of the match-day 23 were involved in Japan’s last outing against New Zealand on 24 September 2022, and only four players in the starting line-up played at Rugby World Cup 2017: Saki Minami, Maki Takano, Seina Saito and Iroha Nagata (although eight in total in the squad were at the last RWC.)
On the selections, McKenzie said that this is the best team Japan have right now. “We need to play our best team and to find your best team you need to give people opportunities. People have shown themselves through training and people have also had opportunities to show themselves through games.
This is the combination that we think gives us the most cohesive attack and defensive game in terms of the contact, in terms of the game management and the style of play we want.”
1. Saki Minami (captain)
2. Nijiho Nagata 3. Sachiko Kato 4. Yuna Sato 5. Maki Takano 6. Seina Saito 7. Iroha Nagata 8. Ayano Nagai
9. Megumi Abe
10. Ayasa Otsuka
11. Komachi Imakugi
12. Shione Nakayama
13. Mana Furuta
14. Hinano Nagura
15. Rinka Matsuda
16. Hinata Komaki17. Misaki Suzuki 18. Makoto Lavemai 19. Kie Tamai 20. Otoka Yoshimura 21. Moe Tsukui 22. Minori Yamamoto 23. Kyoko Hosokawa
Canada – RWC 2021
Canada is a real contender for RWC 2021 and has secured recent wins over Fiji, Italy and Wales, but in 2021 did suffer losses to New Zealand and England (among the two tournament favourites)
Canada coach Kevin Rouet leads a team that will become the first nation to play 40 matches in women’s Rugby World Cup history and they are one of only four teams to play in every women’s tournament, along with England, France and the USA.
The match against Japan is also Canada’s 150th women’s test match so there is much to celebrate but Rouet admitted that Japan is an exciting opponent. “They are very structured. And when I watch the women’s and the men’s side playing I see a lot of similarities. Japan are hard workers, but we are the same. We know that they are going to be very tough with us in defence, double tackle a lot. I think it’s going to be a physical game.”
The coach added that “If you want to win a World Cup, we need to win all the games. And we need to make sure win them properly. But you never know what happens at the World Cup, sometimes you need to do what you need to do in order to win. “
Canada Matchday Squad – 9th October 2022
The Head Coach said of the team selection “We have a very balanced group, and that means every girl can grab the jersey. It’s really good that we have players that are all ready to go on the field. On the other hand for the staff, it’s really tough.”
Sophie de Goede will captain Canada at her first Rugby World Cup and follows in her parent’s footsteps as her mother Stephanie White was the first Canadian women’s captain in 1987 and led them in two matches at the first women’s Rugby World Cup, while her father, Hans de Goede, played 13 years for Canada and captained them at the inaugural Rugby World Cup 1987.
Seven players in the starting line-up played at Rugby World Cup 2017: Brittany Kassil, DaLeaka Menin, Tyson Beukeboom, Karen Paquin, Brianna Miller, Alex Tessier and Elissa Alarie. Three players are involved in their third RWC -Tyson Beukeboom, Karen Paquin and full-back Elissa Alarie.
Left-wing Paige Farries is also respectful of the challenge Japan will pose them “Japan is absolutely made of a backbone of hard workers. We know they are going to work from the first whistle till the final whistle, and we are going to have to be willing to suck in our lungs during the game. We know that they are really structured, we’ve tried to analyse them throughout the week, but ultimately we know that they are going to show up.”
1. Brittany Kassil
2. Emily Tuttosi 3. DaLeaka Menin 4. Courtney Holtkamp 5. Tyson Beukeboom 6. Fabiola Forteza 7. Karen Paquin 8. Sophie de Goede
9. Brianna Miller
10. Taylor Perry
11. Paige Farries
12. Alex Tessier
13. Sara Kaljuvee
14. Maddy Grant
15. Elissa Alarie
16. Gilian Boag17. Mikiela Nelson 18. Alexandria Ellis 19. Ngalula Fuamba 20. Emma Taylor 21. Gabrielle Senft 22. Justine Pelletier 23. Julia Schell
You can read more of the insights into the two teams at scrumqueens.com
RWC 2021 News
- Rugby World Cup 2021 Opening Day is a Sell Out.
- RWC 2021 Tournament Opening Press Conference – Everything You Need to Know.
- RWC 2021 Opening Match Day – Heading For Record Crowd.
- Rugby World Cup 2021 – Captains Photocall and Team Welcome.