Japan vs Russia LIVE: Hosts looking for inspiration in Rugby World Cup opener

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Japan are hoping to put on a show for the home fans as they face Russia in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup.

The hosts are expected to beat the Russians to kick off their campaign with a bang this afternoon.

Captain Michael Leitch believes this could be their best ever campaign after narrowly missing the last eight four years ago.

“We’ve got the opportunity to inspire Japan again. We’ve trained well, prepared well and this will be Japan’s best World Cup ever,” said Leitch.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph said: “I never read Japanese newspapers but I’ve never really considered us to be the favourites for this match.

“I’d say we were even going into this Test match and if we don’t play our best we’re going to struggle.

“The team has prepared as well as ever before and we look forward to Friday night.”

Teams

Japan: Tupou; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Lemeki; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Valu; Van der Walt, Moore; Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno.

Replacements: Sakate, Nakajima, Ji-won, Thompson, Tui, Tanaka, Matsuda, Yamanaka

Russia: Artemyev; Davydov, Ostroushko, Gerasimov, Golosnitskiy; Kushnarev, Dorofeev; Morozov, Selskii, Gotovtsev, Ostrikov, Fedotko, Zhivatov, Gadzhiev, Vavilin

Replacements: Matveev, Polivalov, Bitiev, Garbuzov, Sychev, Perov, Gaisin, Sozonov

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