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Jones says Japan needs to develop more rugby talent

Eddie Jones says Japan needs to develop more talent to build on success at Rugby World Cup

Jones says Japan needs to develop more rugby talent

TOKYO (AP) -- Eddie Jones says Japan needs to develop rugby at the grassroots level in order to build on its surprising success at the Rugby World Cup.

Japan won three out of four pool matches under Jones including a shock win over two-time champion South Africa in its opening game. The team's one loss was to Scotland, when the fatigued Brave Blossoms were over-run in the second half just four days after upsetting the Springboks.

Jones said 60 percent of his squad can go to the next World Cup, which Japan will host in 2019, but Japanese rugby officials need to start developing talent in order to continue moving forward.

"At the moment in Japanese rugby, talent is not being developed," Jones said at the Japan Press Club. "To shine in world rugby you need to identify talented players at 16 or 18 years of age to develop the next generation of players ... but that isn't being done at the moment."

Japan hadn't won a Rugby World Cup game in 24 years before leaving for England. Its only previous victory was against Zimbabwe in 1991.

Japan's success in England has also generated increased interest in the sport at home as the country prepares to host the 2019 tournament.

Jones said his decision to leave Japan to coach South African Super Rugby team the Stormers was primarily motivated by the need for a new challenge.

"It would have been easy to stay here but I wanted to challenge myself as a coach," Jones said.

Jones was born in Tasmania to a Japanese-American mother and Australian father. He has won praise in Japan for building a multicultural team in a homogenous society.

One third of Japan's team was made up of non-Japanese players but Jones said that is just part of the way the game has evolved over the years.

"In every sport now in the world now you have these situations," Jones said. "Look at the teams in the World Cup. Look at Australia; you have Tongans, Samoans, Papua New Guineans and a few white Australians. New Zealand has Samoans, Fijians, Tongans and a few white New Zealanders. Most teams in the world are becoming multicultural. You just can't fight it."

Jones took over as Japan coach from ex-All Blacks winger John Kirwan in the 2012 season. Before that, he had a long list of coaching appointments, including stints coaching club rugby in Japan, and guiding Australia to the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.


Updated : 2021-09-25 08:43 GMT+08:00