Wing Lemeki replaces Tupou in late Japan change

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Lemeki Lomano runs on his way to score a try against Hong Kong during the men’s final of the Asia Rugby Sevens qualifier, in Hong Kong, China November 8, 2015. Japan beat Hong Kong to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

SHIZUOKA, Japan (Reuters) - Japan made a late change to their starting team to play Ireland on Saturday when winger Lomano Lemeki was added to the lineup in place of Will Tupou an hour before kick off.

The 1.77 metre Lemeki started in the opening day win against Russia but coach Jamie Joseph opted to bring in Ryohei Yamanaka at fullback and shift Will Tupou to the wing to add some height to his back three ahead of an expected Irish aerial threat.

The dangerous Kenki Fukuoka, whose injury in the leadup to the tournament ruled him out of the Russian game and was “touch and go” before initially missing out on the matchday squad for Ireland, was added to the replacements bench.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Sudipto Ganguly