Departing head coach salutes Brave Blossoms’ best RWC performance as they bow out against USA with a third victory
Japanese coach Eddie Jones signs autographs for fans after his team the Cherry Blossoms defeated the USA 28-18. Photo: World Rugby
GLOUCESTER – Eddie Jones could not conceal his delight after Japan capped a memorable RWC 2015 and completed a perfect send-off for the departing head coach with a 28-18 Pool B victory over USA at Kingsholm.
The Brave Blossoms became the first team in the tournament’s history to win three matches but miss out on qualification to the quarter-finals and Jones was full of praise for the team’s national “heroes”, who have made the world of rugby stand up and take notice since their opening tournament victory over South Africa.
“I want everything about this win today to be about the team,” Jones (pictured) said in his post-match press conference. “It’s not about my last game – all the players deserve credit.
Eddie Jones also said that he would be open to working with the former England coach, Clive Woodward. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA
Eddie Jones is open to an approach about coaching England but thinks Stuart Lancaster deserves a fair review first.
The former Australia coach, who engineered Japan’s stunning upset of South Africa at the Rugby World Cup, has been touted as a candidate to replace Lancaster after England failed to qualify for the quarter-finals. Jones signed a deal to coach the Cape Town-based Stormers in Super Rugby less than two weeks ago but said becoming England’s first foreign coach was appealing.
Start of game super-important, says Eddie Jones. Photo: World Rugby
BRIGHTON – A fast start against Scotland will be imperative if Japan are to make it two wins out of two and put one foot through the door to the quarterfinals, coach Eddie Jones said on Monday.
The Brave Blossoms have become media darlings of the tournament following their 34-32 victory over South Africa and it was standing-room only in as Jones unveiled his line-up for Wednesday’s match in Gloucester.
For what he dubbed his team’s “most important game” at Rugby World Cup 2015, Jones replaced six players from the Springboks match and made two positional changes, Harumichi Tatekawa shifting to fly-half from centre and Kotaro Matsushima switching wings.
Flying Fijian Sireli Bobo runs away from the Japanese in an earlier PNC match. Photo: Zoom Fiji
Japan is the only logical choice for Super Rugby’s expansion into Asia in 2016, the country’s head coach Eddie Jones told AFP on Friday.
Super Rugby will expand from 15 teams to 18 in 2016, with the return of the Kings from South Africa’s Eastern Cape and a team based in Argentina already previously confirmed.
Organisers of SANZAR confirmed earlier this week that Japan and Singapore would battle to fill the final team and a decision will be made in September or October.
Shota Horie is a big influence for the Melbourne Rebels. Photo: IRB
As a Japanese professional rugby player exiled in Melbourne, hooker Shota Horie is every inch the pioneering rebel with a cause.
While the domestic J-League is no stranger to overseas imports, examples of home-grown Japanese players moving in the opposite direction and trying their luck abroad are few and far between.
Horie is one of a handful who have bucked the trend, first moving to Otago, where he linked up with compatriot and fellow rugby missionary Fumiaki Tanaka, and then on to the Victorian capital of Melbourne, who, this week, rewarded him with a contract extension.
Hailed as ‘a big influence’ by Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan, Horie, who has made 17 appearances since his move to Australia, has also attracted lofty praise from Japan national team boss Eddie Jones.
Former English skipper Steve Borthwick is new Japan lineout coach. Photo: Planet Rugby
Japan coach Eddie Jones is eager for his side to peak at next year’s World Cup after an impressive nine-game winning streak for the national team.
Victories over Canada and the USA have made for an outstanding month for the Brave Blossoms, with this weekend seeing them face Italy in Tokyo.
And Jones believes it will be a difficult task to make it ten in a row when they face the Azzurri, a side they have struggled against in the past.
“It will be our toughest game of the year,” the former Australia head coach told reporters.
“Japan’s record against Italy is not impressive so it’s a fantastic opportunity to change Japanese rugby history.”
Japan’s recent success risks becoming a double-edged sword for Jones, however, as World Cup rivals devote more time to analysing how to avoid being upset in England next year.
“Of course we really want to peak at the World Cup,” said Jones.