Forget World Cup heroics, says Japan rugby coach

That’s the title from the Daily Mail interview with Jamie Joseph, Japan coach…and I guess he’s right. As much as I loved seeing Japan take on and win against South Africa in 2015, we are now in 2017…it’s time to move on.

Like many England fans we talk about the glorious 2003 RWC final in Rugby, while 1966, 1990 and 1996 in football have several happy memories to share. We even still have the odd bit of banter about the Battle of Culloden when the Scot’s are mentioned, however, to be fair… the Scot’s talk about 1991 and “that Grand Slam decider”, the Aussies relish discussion about 1991 (Campese’s final few minutes foul however is never mentioned), 1995 and dominating the Olympics in Swimming. Each country harks back to those days when they won above all odds, when legends were made and when the impossible just seemed possible…however their is always a time to move on and build new memories. As Joseph points out, now is the time.

Jonny Wilkinson announced that he is to retire from international rugby

(Jonny however is probably a legend we could keep talking about for a few more years to go…) 

Joseph is right in highlighting the fact that the Brave Blossoms have been in limbo with part-time managers for a long period of time before he arrived and now he’s rebuilding the team from what’s left. The Sunwolves are certainly going to help rebuild the squad due to their involvement in Super Rugby, however he can’t depend on just one team to provide all of the players he’ll need.

Japan, their coaches and key players, will be under pressure to perform this summer, with Ireland, France and Australia visiting, whislt the spectre of 2019 looms on the horizon. If Japan put in decent performances this summer, then Japan will build on this and form a nucleus of a team who could perform will in the early stages in 2019, however if they get truly smashed, then I’ve got concerns on how this will destabilize their plans for 2019, hit confidence and disrupt player development.

Japan do not want to be knocked out in the 1st round, just like England in 2015, so what are the 3 core things they should from now until 2019. 

Pick a team with emerging talent and blood them early this summer. The more experience they can get in international rugby in the next few years the better. Mixed those players up with mature, seasoned vets and blend, ready for 2019.

Work to your strengths.  Don’t try to play like New Zealand, as that’s how New Zealand play and have mastered fully. Play a truly Japan style of rugby, featuring heart, passion, speed, fast handling and teamwork. The Brave Blossoms when confronted by huge odds have played their best rugby when they play as a unit. #RiseAsOne

Build a competitive squad, not a first 15. Japan need players in depth, fighting for every position. International rugby is a tough sport and not everyone will last the tournament, so substitutes and 3rd choice players need to be just as keen, skilled and fit  as the first 15.

To read Joseph’s interview in full visit – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4134982/Forget-World-Cup-heroics-says-Japan-rugby-coach-Joseph.html