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Rugby: Deans names star-studded World XV to take on Japan

The World XV squad to take on Japan on Oct. 26 was finalized Sunday by coaches Robbie Deans and Scott Robertson following results over the weekend in New Zealand and South Africa.

Former All Black and current co-captain of Kobe Kobelco Steelers Andy Ellis leads a side that contains 1,537 Super Rugby appearances and 525 test caps.

Ellis and fellow Rugby World Cup winners Ma’a Nonu and Wyatt Crockett are joined in the squad by three members of the All Blacks squad that will face Japan on Nov. 3 — flankers Dillon Hunt and Jackson Hemopo, and fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Ellis and his teammates will have just three training runs before Friday night’s game at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, but as many of these players have shown when appearing for previous World XV and Barbarians teams, their collective experience should hold them in good stead.

New Zealand is one of six countries represented with the side also drawing on past and present internationals from Argentina, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Tonga.


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Former Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss leads a big South African contingent, while Tonga is represented by former captain Nili Latu. They are joined by Pumas back-row forward Leonardo Senatore, along with Australians Sam Carter and Ben Alexander, all experienced internationals.

In the backs, Argentine flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias will feature at some stage outside former All Blacks scrumhalf Augustine Pulu.

In addition to a number of overseas players plying their trade in the Top League, the squad also contains Ben Gunter and Keisuke Moriya from Deans’ Panasonic Wild Knights side, the only two players in the squad who have not played in Super Rugby.

The two teams have met twice before with the World XV winning both games — 45-20 in Tokyo in 2015 and 47-27 in Fukuoka in 2017.

All — Kyodo News+

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