Kirwan demands the best
PA Sport
September 12, 2007

Japan coach John Kirwan has warned his men they will need to be on top form to beat Fiji in tonight's World Cup clash in Toulouse.

Kirwan has changed his entire starting XV from Sunday's 91-3 defeat to Australia arguing that, with just a four-day turnaround, Japan had to target
matches they have a chance of winning.

Japan were beaten 30-15 by Fiji in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup earlier this year and Kirwan had a clear message that to reverse the scoreline ``everyone
will have to play their best game and the team will have to play for 80 minutes''.

Number eight Takuro Miuchi returns to the side as captain, while Kirwan has also included former Hurricanes fly-half Bryce Robins and former Crusaders
flanker Philip O'Reilly.

Robins has not played at fly-half for three years but is confident Japan can gain revenge for their recent defeat to Fiji.

He said: ``We should have won that game but blew a few tries. We know that but Fiji have named a different team to the one we played.

``They like to run the ball and one-on-one they are strong.

``I think we were strong against them in the Pacific Nations, our scrum was strong and we took a few of their lineout balls so we will probably target their
lineout, target their set piece and go for them wherever we can.

``We need to get in their face and not give them any space but we need to make those one-on-one tackles once we are up there.''

But that is hardly news to the Fijians, who know full well most sides in Pool B will target their scrum and set piece.

What few other teams can match is that instinct to attack from anywhere, while the side is peppered with experienced professionals.

Fiji's starting XV includes nine players making their World Cup debuts and three from the Guinness Premiership.

Saracens provide captain and scrum-half Mosese Rauluni, fly-half Nicky Little and full-back Kameli Ratuvou, while Akapusi Qera has signed for Gloucester.

Rauluni said: ``We know Japan didn't put their strongest team out against Australia because they are aiming at us so it will be a very tough battle.

``They will aim for our forwards as history says our forwards and set piece hasn't been the strongest but hopefully we can do it well after all our

``I think the match is going to be very fast and very hectic.

``They have a unique style of game. It doesn't matter whether they are getting flogged or winning, they will go hard for the full 80 minutes.''

Japan have also provided one of the tournament's great stories.

While it emerged from the Wales camp that scrum-half Dwayne Peel returned to his room to find a prankster - namely winger Mark Jones - had placed a sheep in
his room, Japan have their own bedroom tale.

Lock Luke Thompson got a little more than he bargained for when he started rooming with team-mate O'Reilly.

O'Reilly had advised Thompson to give him a nudge in the night if he started snoring too loudly ``because that's what my missus does''.

Thompson followed the advice after O'Reilly had started grunting - only for the sleeping flanker to kiss his arm and give him a hug before rolling over

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