Happy New Year everyone.
2016 has been a year that will probably go down in the history books as one of change, both on and off the field. From the heady heights of 2015 seeing Japan beating South Africa , 2016 has seen Japan finish the year as 11th seed in the world, with a tough 2017 tier 1 fixture list ahead, including two games against Ireland and one match against Australia.
2016 saw great strides in the Japan team, but also heartache. Who can forget the Brave Blossoms coming so close to winning against Wales in November, whilst the win against Georgia gave the team and team manager, Jamie Joseph, some well earnt respect. Japan in 2017 will now have respect from teams visiting them in 2017.
“Will 2017 see Japan take a scalp from Ireland or Australia? Well anything is possible, especially with home advantage and a growing squad.”
What 2017 will cement is the fever for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 within Japan. Team bases will be announced and tickets will start to go on sale. Travel plans will have to be made by thousands of English, Irish, Scots and Welsh, keen to visit Japan, see its culture and watch some fantastic rugby.
So let’s raise a glass, 2016…your time has come, time to move over and let 2017 have a go.