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Tea Leaves

Lessons in identity and sport from Planet Rugby

Japan's Brave Blossoms show they have skin in the game

Japan's Rugby World Cup squad has players from various backgrounds. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

Japan's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup now underway contains a remarkably diverse cast of characters. Kotaro Matsushima, who scored a crucial try against Scotland, was born in South Africa to a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother. Luke Thompson, the huge second rower who, at 38, is the oldest player in the tournament, hails from New Zealand. Isileli Nakajima, the Tonga-born prop, has added to his already considerable presence by dyeing his hair and beard blonde.

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