Michael Leitch

Leitch says Japan can learn so much from World Cup

Born in New Zealand but a resident of Japan since he was 15, Leitch captained a multicultural squad that represented a nation often perceived, by the Japanese as much as anyone, as monocultural.

Three straight wins over Russia, Ireland and Samoa set the World Cup alight and triggered a mania that engulfed Japan for a few glorious weeks.

Central to their success, Leitch says, was the 'One Team' ethos, bringing together players born in seven different countries to present an entirely new face of Japanese sport.

Michael Leitch to play for the Sunwolves in 2019

The 28-year-old Japan international had originally turned down the opportunity to lead the new franchise in their debut Super Rugby season last year, instead believing the best way to better his game was to stick with the Chiefs - who he signed for in 2013 but never got to play for because of injury, before linking back up with them two years later.

One week ban for Michael Leitch

The Japanese international was the third player to be yellow carded during the match after his 77th minute high shot on Hurricanes reserve hooker Ricky Riccitelli.

The Chiefs won the match 26-18.

Leitch was cited after the match and pleaded guilty at his hearing with the SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee on Sunday.

His one week suspension means he misses the Chiefs' round four matches in Melbourne.

It follows on from World Rugby's hard stance on high tackles.

In the past a similar tackle would have not been cited.

Chiefs trust their depth as Michael Leitch returns to face the Blues in Hamilton

They've done so again for Friday night's highly anticipated Battle of the Bombays encounter against the Blues in Hamilton, with Michael Leitch back in the fold.

The back row has re-shuffled from the round one win over the Highlanders, with Leitch starting at No 8 and shifting Liam Messam to blindside flanker in place of Taleni Seu.

Sam Cane's continued absence (ankle) sees Lachlan Boshier take the No 7 jersey from Mitch Karpik, who drops out of the squad with Mitchell Brown, while Tom Sanders is promoted to the bench.