Former Black Rams Tokyo and England player James Haskell is known for his love of the phrase "bin juice" in reference to players who get little to no playing time and whose duties are generally confined to the training paddock.

On Thursday, the last day before a three-day break from media duties, the Brave Blossoms opted to put three such players in front of the traveling Japanese journalists at their Rugby World Cup base at Stade Ernest Wallon.

Fly-half Jumpei Ogura, scrum-half Kenta Fukuda and wing Siosaia Fifita have just 16 caps between them -- Fukuda has yet to play for the national team -- and a combined zero minutes of World Cup experience.

(From L) Japan wing Siosaia Fifita, scrum-half Kenta Fukuda and fly-half Jumpei Ogura pose for a photo on Sept. 21, 2023, in Toulouse, France, where their national team is based for the Rugby World Cup. (Kyodo)

So rather than going into detail about where the games have been won and lost against Chile and England, the trio gave insights into the behind-the-scenes preparations ahead of Japan's do-or-die clashes with Samoa on Sept. 28 and Argentina on Oct. 8.

"Those not on the field, such as myself, watch what the opponents are going to do and emulate that so our (starting) team can respond to them," Ogura said. "That is basically how it goes every week."

"My current role is to prepare for the game regardless of whether I am going to play or not. If I can't play in a game, I look at the opponents and see what the person in that position will do and then do the same during practice."

Prior to the England game, that meant Fukuda and Ogura spent much of their time kicking to the Japan team, with Fukuda's work recognized by his peers with the weekly award for the player who contributes the most during training.

Despite his efforts, Japan still lost 34-12, but Fukuda said the team had put that result behind them.

"I don't think anyone is dwelling on the loss to England anymore," he said. "We're looking forward as a team."

Vice-captain Yutaka Nagare and Naoto Saito have so far been the first- and second-choice scrum-halves, and while he is taking nothing for granted, Fukuda hopes he can soon make his debut.

"I think it would be a great honor to play in the World Cup and wear the cherry blossom jersey," he said. "That situation is not possible right now, and we have no control over the selection of the members of the team. But I am feeling very positive about the situation."

Fukuda gave special praise to Nagare, saying, "I'm getting a lot of inspiration from the members I usually play against in League One and from my teammates in practice, especially Nagy."

"His way of thinking about rugby, his active communication with players in other positions off the field, and so on. In this aspect, as well as the rugby part, of course, I think that if a player cannot work hard in these situations, he will not be able to work hard anywhere in the future."

And that ability to work together will, he hopes, see the team triumph in their next two games and advance to the quarterfinals.

"I think the biggest thing is that everyone is fighting with Japanese pride as a representative of the Japan team, whether it is watching the games or practicing," Fukuda said.

All three players will be watching with interest then on Friday when Samoa and Argentina clash in Saint-Etienne.