Rugby Union


Japan rugby stuck in 1950s, says Eddie Jones

TOKYO: Japan coach Eddie Jones on Wednesday slammed the country's rugby development structure for being stuck in the past and urged players to be more aggressive if they want to challenge the best teams.

While announcing a 30-man squad for next month's tour of Europe, Jones said he had avoided the urge to blood young players as they were far from ready for the top-flight.

"I haven't picked any university students as we only have a short preparation and the level of rugby they are playing makes it impossible for them to play Test-match rugby by November 10," he told Japanese media.

"I watched a university game at the weekend and it was like I was in a time warp. I thought I was in the 1950s," he said, according to Kyodo news agency.

"I have to be honest, it's just not rugby. I don't know what they do in training but they have got to change."

The Australian took charge of Brave Blossoms in April, leading them to a fifth straight Asian Five Nations crown a month later.


Since then, however, they lost all three matches in the Pacific Nations Cup in June, when they also proved no match against the French Barbarians in two games at home.

His stated goal is to develop Japan into a top-10 nation before the 2015 World Cup in England.

The Brave Blossoms will play Test matches against Romania on November 10 and Georgia on the 17th, before taking on a Basque select team on November 21 and the French Barbarians four days later.

"The players that have not made the squad are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in the Top League," he said referring to Japan's nine-year-old rugby union league.

"George Smith runs around like he's got spiders on him because no one wants to tackle him," Jone said, citing the former Wallaby flanker who retired from international rugby in 2010 and now plays for the Top League's Suntory Sungoliath.

"He should be an inspiration to every backrow forward in Japan. He's the same size but he has the highest work rate," Jones said.

"But no one ever hits him. You need to see that attitude of 'I'm going to smash him,' if you want to make a mark in world rugby."

Romania are currently ranked 18th and Georgia 15th in the world, close to 16th-placed Japan, which hope to improve their standing before they host the World Cup in 2019.