Japan vs Samoa: Tony Brown believes having 'two captains' gives Rugby World Cup hosts an edge
Japan face Samoa in Rugby World Cup Pool A clash in Toyota on Saturday (kick-off 11.30am BST)
Last Updated: 04/10/19 7:32pm
Japan attack coach Tony Brown believes having "two captains" will help their World Cup hopes.
The Brave Blossoms stunned Ireland to win their Pool A clash 19-12 last weekend and return to action against Samoa in Toyota City on Saturday (kick-off 11.30am BST).
Michael Leitch returns to the back row after starting on the bench against Ireland, although Pieter Labuschagne retains the captaincy.
"I think 'Lappies' and Leitch are both outstanding leaders," said Brown. "Obviously Lappies has been fully fit and playing fine in every game so far.
"Michael has been in and out of the team this year so Lappies is a natural guy to take over.
"With the two captains running the team it will help the performance of the team and keep us sharp under pressure."
Japan are targeting a first World Cup quarter-final after falling in the group stage four years ago, despite winning three matches.
Beating Samoa would put them in a strong position to reach the last eight ahead of their final pool game against Scotland on October 13.
"I just think it's been four years of hard work around our attack, building a skill set and being able to execute under real pressure," said Brown.
"Playing all the tier one teams in the last four years and that experience helps the players to adapt to the extra pressure and more physicality.
"I think our players always expect to execute everything they do on the field."
Japan coach Jamie Joseph has also recalled hooker Atsushi Sakate and second row Wimpie van der Walt.
Seilala Lam is one of six changes to the Samoa side beaten 34-0 by Scotland, the hooker joining his brother Jack, the captain and No 8, in the Pacific Islanders' line-up.
The squad received a special guest on Thursday as Samoa's Prime Minister Aiono Sailele visited them at their training camp.
Back row Chris Vui said: "It was good having him there telling stories. He spoke to us with a full heart and told some funny jokes just to keep the mood nice and chilled.
"Then he gave us some words of encouragement leading up to [the match against] Japan, so it was good.
"After that Scotland game we still have belief in what we're trying to do.
"Japan is in our way but it's just another team we've got to get past to make that play-off."
Japan:15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Lomano Lemeki, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare; 1 Keita Inagaki, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 3 Jiwon Koo, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 5 James Moore, 6 Michael Leitch, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (c), 8 Kazuki Himeno.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Kenki Fukuoka.
Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ah See Tuala, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow, Ulupano Seuteni, Dwayne Polataivao; Jordan Lay, Seilala Lam, Michael Alaalatoa, Piula Faasalele, Kane Leaupepe, Chris Vui, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam (c).
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 James Lay, 19 Senio Toleafoa, 20 Josh Tyrell, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 Tusi Pisi, 23 Kieron Fonotia.