Center Ryoto Nakamura to captain Japan against Portugal

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CIOMBRA, Portugal (AP) — Center Ryoto Nakamura will captain Japan for the first time when it plays Portugal in the first-ever test between the teams at Coimbra, Portugal on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Nakamura, who plays for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan’s Top League, will be making his 29th test appearance.

Head coach Jamie Joseph has named two players to make test debuts.

Shogo Nakano will start at outside center while lock Warner Dearns, son of former New Zealand netballer Tanya Dearns, has been named on the bench.

Former captain Michael Leitch returns to the starting 15 on the blind side flank and Kaito Shigeno returns at scrumhalf in his first start since Japan’s test against the British and Irish Lions in June.

Prop Isieli Nakajima has been named on the bench to play his first test since Japan’s quarterfinal match against South Africa at the 2019 World Cup.

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Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Dylan Riley, Shogo Nakano, Ryoto Nakamura (captain), Siosaia Fifita, Rikiya Matsuda, Kaito Shigeno; Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Kazuki Himeno, Michael Leith, Naohiro Kotaki, Jack Cornelsen, Asaeli Ai Valu, Kosuke Horikoshi, Craig Millar. Reserves: Atsushi Sakate, Isieli Nakajima, Jiwon Gu, Warner Dearns, Faulua Makisi, Naoto Saito, Kotaro Matsushima, Tevita Tatafu.

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