The Japan Rugby Football Union has announced the 52 players and team staff who will make up the Brave Blossoms – Japan National Team Wider Training Squad for 2021.
Players have been selected from both the domestic Top League and from overseas clubs, while Head Coach Jamie Joseph will work with the same coaching team of Tony Brown, Scott Hansen, and Shin Hasegawa, that lead the Brave Blossoms to the knockout stages at the Rugby World Cup 2019.
“It’s been a long time coming since our last squad announcement and I am very excited about our upcoming challenge against the British and Irish Lions. It will be a very special occasion for the team to play the Lions for the first time ever. Announcing this squad is the first step in our preparation. The 2021 Top League has produced some great team performances and the competition between the teams is a lot closer than in past years which is great for the development of the game in Japan.Brave Blossoms Head Coach Jamie Joseph
“Since the World Cup, we’ve had players who have retired from international rugby or who have made themselves unavailable for selection for personal reasons. This creates an opportunity for new players to put their best foot forward and show they can play at the international level.
The squad has a good balance of experience, as well as players with the potential to play international rugby. We will need to grow the depth of our team over the next 2 years and this tour to Scotland is just the starting point. The final rounds of Top League will show us who can play their best rugby under the pressure of knockout rugby. We will name the final squad of 35 players after the final matches in May.”
Announced on May 24, the final squad members will assemble for a team camp in Beppu, Oita, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu from May 26 to June 8. As previously announced, the Brave Blossoms will play a warm-up match at ECOPA Stadium in Shizuoka on June 12, with the opponent to be announced in due course.
The Brave Blossoms are then scheduled to fly to Scotland on June 16 to take on the British & Irish Lions at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh on June 26.