Japan head coach Jamie Joseph was forced into a late change to his match-day 23 for the Pool D match against Samoa on Thursday, 28 September. Scrum-half Yutaka Nagare drops out, with Naoto Saito starting in the number nine jersey and Kenta Fukuda coming onto the bench.  Dylan Riley starts at outside-centre in place of Tomoki Osada and Lomano Lemeki comes in at full-back for the injured Semisi Masiresa in the two changes to his original starting 15 from the team that lost to England. 

1 Keita Inagaki 
2 Shota Horie 
3 Jiwon Gu 
4 Jack Cornelsen 
5 Amato Fakatava 
6 Michael Leitch
7 Pieter Labuschagne 
8 Kazuki Himeno (c)
9 Naoto Saito 
10 Rikiya Matsuda 
11 Jone Naikabula 
12 Ryoto Nakamura
13 Dylan Riley 
14 Kotaro Matsushima 
15 Lomano Lemeki 

16 Atsushi Sakate
17 Craig Millar 
18 Asaeli Ai Valu 
19 Warner Dearns 
20 Kanji Shimokawa
21 Kenta Fukuda
22 Seungsin Lee 
23 Tomoki Osada 

  • Head coach Jamie Joseph has made two changes to his starting XV from their 34-12 loss against England both in the back-line with Dylan Riley replacing Tomoki Osada in the centres and Lomano Lemeki replacing Semisi Masiresa at full-back. 
  • There are four players in this team who will play Samoa at the Rugby World Cup for the third time – Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki, Michael Leitch and Kotaro Matsushima all played against them at both RWC 2015 and 2019. 
  • Amato Fakatava scored in his test debut against Samoa this year, making a team-high 90 metres and six defenders beaten from eight carries. He was one of only three Japanese players to make a line break in the match. In defence, he did not miss a tackle completing all 10 attempts and forcing one tackle turnover in contact. 
  • Lomano Lemeki will make his first start since 23 October, 2021 against Australia. He played 74 minutes off the bench last game against England, making the second-most carry metres past the gain-line for Japan (54). 
  • Jack Cornelsen made two lineout steals against Samoa earlier this year, and has made four in two appearances at RWC 2023. He and Michael Leitch are the only two Japanese forwards to have played every minute of the tournament so far. 
  • Seungsin Lee will make his Rugby World Cup debut if he comes off the bench. He scored 17 points against Samoa when they last met in July, kicking all six attempts from the kicking tee (five penalty goals and one conversion).