Japan Rugby

Eddie Jones expected to quit Australia and confirm his return as Japan coach

According to a story in Sponichi, the Japanese sports newspaper, Jones is poised to return as Jamie Joseph’s successor in the vacant head coach role. Japan also failed to progress to the quarterfinals of this year’s show-piece in France.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month how Jones, who is under contract with Rugby Australia until the end of their home World Cup in 2027, had secretly interviewed with the Japan Rugby Football Union by video call before the start of the World Cup, just days before the Wallabies’ final warm-up fixture against the hosts France.

Two Fijians to start for Japan

Japan Head Coach Jamie Joseph has retained Jone Naikabula and Semisi Masirewa on the wings.

Naikabula lines up against Jiuta Wainiqolo and Masirewa will be marking Selesitino Ravutaumada.

Another player with links to Fiji, Michael Leitch, will miss out as he’s serving his second and final week of suspension, following the red card he picked up against Samoa.

However, with Leitch out, Japan welcomes the return of Pieter Labuschagne, who is coming back from injury.

Israel Folau shines in latest Japan League One action while Ngani Laumape kept in check

In the biggest clash of the weekend between two of the heavyweight clubs, Tokyo Sungoliath and Kobelco Kobe Steelers, the Sungoliath came out on top with a dominant win 39-19.

Former All Black Ngani Laumape, who has been in blistering form in his first season in Japan, was kept largely in check by the Sungoliath defence.

Kobelco managed four penalties to narrow Sungoliath’s lead to 17-12 but a yellow card to former Blues lock Gerard Cowley Tuioti gave the Tokyo club a one-man advantage which they used to score from a trick lineout play.

Quade Cooper off to winless start in Japan Rugby League One 2022

In the final match of the new competition’s opening round, Kintetsu were outplayed by Mitsubishi in a 25-14 defeat at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.

This was in spite of the fact the Liners boasted an all-star halves combo comprised of Cooper and his long-time teammate Will Genia, although the Dynaboars weren’t short of firepower themselves.

The hosts had two-time World Cup-winning All Blacks first-five Colin Slade starting at No 10, as well as ex-All Blacks lock Jackson Hemopo on the bench.

Japan won't play again in 2020 due to COVID

Head coach Jamie Joseph said Japan, who had games against England and Wales cancelled earlier this year due to the outbreak, had been due to play against Europe’s top teams in an eight-nation tournament later this year.

Japan have not played a test match since their quarter-final loss to eventual champions South Africa at last year’s Rugby World Cup on home soil.

“We have concluded there will be no test matches this year,” JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi told a media briefing on Monday.

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.

Japan win PNC, Fiji come second

The Brave Blossoms, will host the Rugby World Cup in just under six weeks time, and the team seems to have had the best possible preparations so far.

Japan started their virtual PNC final against the Eagles with tremendous precision, scoring within three minutes through their inspirational captain Michael Leitch, on their way to 17 unanswered points.

However it was then that USA sevens star Madison Hughes scored to give the Americans some hope.