Japan head coach Jamie Joseph may have led his side to tip the rugby world on its head by defeating Ireland at the World Cup on Saturday, but it appears he may out of the running for the All Blacks’ head coach role following the tournament.
It’s not as if Joseph’s performance as Japan’s head coach has ruled him out of contention for New Zealand’s top job.
In fact, the prospect of him taking over from incumbent Steve Hansen at the end of this year has only intensified following Japan’s unbeaten start in their home World Cup, which includes their spectacular tip-up of Ireland, the world’s second-ranked side.
Following on from his Super Rugby success with the Highlanders in 2015, the victory over Ireland has continued to elevate Joseph’s status as one of the world’s premier coaches, leading to him being shortlisted along the likes of All Blacks assistant Ian Foster and Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson as one of a select few candidates to replace Hansen from next year onwards.
Even Hansen himself said that Joseph would be a good option for the job, praising his compatriot following the famous 19-12 victory in Shizuoka three days ago.
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“Jamie Joseph’s a very good coach. He didn’t become one overnight just because he coached Japan to beat Ireland,” Hansen said.
“I always find it amusing, you beat someone and all of a sudden you’re a super coach. I hold the world record for the most losses in a row and the world record for the most wins in a row so what sort of coach am I?
“Coaching’s a lot more than just the results. Is he good enough to be an All Black coach? I think he is one day, I do. Am I picking the next coach? No.
“So there’s not much point even asking what my opinion is because those people who are appointing him won’t take any notice of it anyway, and probably rightly so.”
Ardie Savea will follow in the footsteps of Italian star Ian McKinley by wearing rugby goggles in the @AllBlacks next @rugbyworldcup clash against Canada tomorrow. #RWC19 #NZLvCAN https://t.co/PGQNSrnEHH
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 30, 2019
However, New Zealand Rugby may not even have the opportunity to field a job application from Joseph, as a a report from Japanese sport outlet Nikkan Sports has revealed the 49-year-old is close to agreeing to a contract extension with the Japan Rugby Football Union, which could see him stay in the Land of the Rising Sun until 2021.
The report also states that negotiations between both parties got underway before the start of the World Cup.
Such a move would effectively eliminate the possibility of Joseph coaching the All Blacks – or any other team around the world – next year, but would be a significant coup for the JRFU, especially if Japan qualify for the World Cup knockout stages for the first time in their history, which they are currently on track to do.
An announcement on the next All Blacks coach is expected to be made by NZR in December.
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