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Championship-winning coach joins Japan coaching team

By Jon Newcombe
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 26: Daniel Bowden of Auckland (C) passes during the round two Mitre 10 Cup match between Auckland and Northland at Eden Park on August 26, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Much-travelled former Super Rugby and Premiership player Dan Bowden has announced on LinkedIn that he has landed a job on the Japan coaching staff as attack coach.

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It will be Bowden’s first international coaching job having spent five years working for Auckland RU and the last two as an assistant coach at recently crowned Japan League One champions Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Toshiba beat the Wild Knights 24-20 in last month’s thrilling final, which was watched by a crowd of 57,000 at Tokyo’s National Stadium, to win the Championship title for the first time in 14 years.

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Bowden, 38, joins Test centurions Owen Franks and Victor Matfield in assisting Eddie Jones for the upcoming match against England, which can be watched live and exclusive on RugbyPass TV, on June 22nd, the back-to-back meetings with Maori All Blacks, on June 29th and July 6th, followed by further home Tests against Georgia and Italy, on July 13th and 21st.

As a player, the fly-half/centre looked destined to play for the All Blacks. He represented New Zealand through the U19 and U21 age groups and had four seasons of Super Rugby behind him by the age of 22 – at the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders.

His career took a different direction, though, when he joined London Irish in the English Premiership in 2010. Bowden spent two years there and a similar amount of time at Leicester before joining Bath, after a brief stopover in Japan with Yamaha and some time back at the Blues.

But Bowden’s time at Bath under the coaching of Mike Ford and then his Toshiba boss, Todd Blackadder, was marred by injury and he returned to New Zealand to play Mitre 10 rugby with Auckland until a bad concussion forced him to hang up his boots in 2018.

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On retiring, Bowden did some TV punditry work and worked in talent identification and recruitment before embarking on his coaching career.

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