The Future of Japanese Rugby? Eddie Jones Wants Brave Blossoms to Be Top-Four Team

Japan National Rugby Union Team Head Coach Eddie Jones has laid out how the sport must change if Japan is to become a top-four team. He told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) on March 13 that he aims to take the Brave Blossoms to the top.

He spoke of a need to create better Japanese players and to renew the structure of Japanese rugby while respecting the traditions of teamwork, harmony, and toughness.

At school level, he called for the game to be made enjoyable to attract young players, and for the creation of leagues, rather than tournaments, to increase the number of games played, while an U-23 team would fill the gap between U-21 and the Brave Blossoms.

“We have made huge gains, but we don’t aim high enough,” Jones said. “I am optimistic, but also realistic.”

Eddie Jones addresses the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan

He said he wants to create the next “rugby Ohtani,” a reference to the Japanese baseball star based in the United States, and to build a team for the 2027 Rugby World Cup to be held in his native Australia.

But even masters make mistakes, so he was quick to answer a question from a journalist about what he could have done better in his long and colorful career. He said that he was probably too quick trying to make changes during his stint as England coach, which partly what led to his departure there.

In his first stint as head coach, his players stunned the world in 2015 by beating South Africa in a match dubbed “The Brighton Miracle,” and the Australian achieved his goal of elevating Japan into the world’s top 10.

Now back at the helm after eight years with England and Australia, he’s demanding that his team have an obsession to be the best, and he says he has a plan to make the Brave Blossoms the speediest outfit in world rugby.

You can watch the press conference here:

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