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Japan's Joseph is fans' favourite

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Forget Jones and Erasmus, Jamie Joseph is fans' favourite to be coach of the year

Five coaches have been nominated for the World Rugby coach of the year award – and fans on social media feel that there is one clear winner. 

The list was selected by Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O’Driscoll, Agustin Pichot, Nick Mallett and Clive Woodward and all nominees have legitimate reasons to be there. 

Warren Gatland led Wales to Grand Slam glory and a World Cup semi-final, Rassie Erasmus won the Rugby Championship and has steered the Springboks to the RWC final, as has Eddie Jones, who masterminded a comprehensive semi-final win over the All Blacks. 

Both Erasmus and Jones took over their teams when they were at a nadir and have brought them to the top of the world rankings.  

In fact, Steve Hansen may be the most unmerited inclusion on the list as, by his usual standards, this has had his worst year in charge of the All Blacks as he has not won one of the Rugby Championship or the RWC. 

(Continue reading below…)

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But it is Hansen’s compatriot, and Japan head coach Jamie Joseph who looks to be the popular choice to win the award among fans on Twitter. The former All Black-led Japan to Pacific Nations Cup glory earlier in the year, but it has been his exploits at the RWC that has won him so many fans. 

Japan topped their pool at the RWC, beating both Ireland and Scotland en route, before succumbing to the Springboks in their first-ever quarter-final. 

This in itself is an almighty achievement given Japan’s historically lowly status in world rugby and their resources compared to the tier one nations. However, it is the brand of rugby that Joseph has got his side playing that has been so engrossing. Japan played at a ruthlessly quick tempo and had the precise passing and offloading to run rings around whoever they played. 

It was only once the Springboks tightened the game up against the Brave Blossoms and turned to their sizeable pack that there were able to get an advantage.

Losing in a quarter-final may not necessarily look impressive on paper, but it is the manner how Joseph got there and with which team that makes him many people’s favourite. This is what has been said: 

With the final between England and South Africa yet to be played, the winning coach in that match may sneak the victory and that would be an understandable outcome. If so, that would not take anything away from what Joseph has achieved this year with Japan. 

WATCH: Assistant coach Jacques Nienaber fields questions ahead of South Africa’s World Cup final versus England 

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Forget Jones and Erasmus, Jamie Joseph is fans' favourite to be coach of the year