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'Genuine threat': Rennie's warning for Wallabies ahead of Japan test

By Alex McLeod

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Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has assured that his side consider Japan as “a genuine threat” ahead of their clash with the Brave Blossoms in Oita on Saturday.

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It is at Oita Dome where the Wallabies will open their end-of-year tour this weekend against an ambitious Japanese side set to play just their third test since their remarkable World Cup run to the quarter-finals in front of home fans two years ago.

After having not played at all last year due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Brave Blossoms returned to international rugby in June when they produced a valiant effort in a 28-10 loss against the British and Irish Lions in Edinburgh.

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Dave Rennie on whether Quade Cooper will continue to start for the Wallabies on northern tour
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Dave Rennie on whether Quade Cooper will continue to start for the Wallabies on northern tour

The Jamie Joseph-coached outfit followed up its first-ever encounter with the famous touring side with a 39-31 defeat at the hands of Ireland in Dublin a week later.

Despite a winless return to the test arena, Japan showed its competitiveness against the European juggernauts, with head coach Jamie Joseph continuing to implement a high-octane brand of play.

It was that attacking style that both won the hearts of millions across the globe and proved lethal at the 2019 World Cup, and Rennie made note that his side will have to be at their best to avoid an upset in their first clash with Japan in three years.

“They’re an excellent side, and they’ve got really good detail around their game, really good skill-set, very good around generating quick ball, the quality of their carry and clean, so they are a genuine threat, and we’re treating it as that,” Rennie said on Sunday.

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“They’re a different beast to what we’re going to face over in Europe in regard to how they’re going to play, but that’s great from our perspective. An opportunity to learn over the next four tests, so it’s a big challenge over here.”

In an attempt to negate Japan’s skilful tactical approach, Rennie indicated a strong defensive effort and a clever kicking will be required by the Wallabies in what he anticipates will be a quality contest.

“They play very much a high-speed, high-skill type of game, and that’s no surprise with Jamie and Tony [Brown, Japan assistant coach] in the mix,” he said.

“We’re well aware of that. We’re going to have to do a good job around the quality of our defence and slowing their ball down to get a wall in front of them, so we’ve got a plan around how we need to play against these guys.

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“They’ll also kick a bit, and we’ll need to as well, so it should be a belter. We’re playing at a stadium that has a roof, so we should get a fast track and two sides that both want to play.”

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'Genuine threat': Rennie's warning for Wallabies ahead of Japan test

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