When Japan beat the Springboks in Brighton at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, not only did it do wonders for their standing as a rugby nation, it also boosted the profile of veteran coach Eddie Jones, with the Australian going on to secure the most lucrative job in international rugby, England head coach.
That historic win was undoubtedly one of the catalysts that made the Rugby Football Union (RFU) move on from then head coach Stuart Lancaster, dust off the chequebook and lure Jones back to England, with the 59-year-old having relocated to Japan since his stint at Saracens ended in 2009. The 2015 Rugby World Cup marked the first time that a nation won three of their four pool games and still failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.
After current Japan head coach Jamie Joseph helped orchestrate the Brave Blossoms’ upset win over Ireland in Shizuoka on Saturday, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) have understandably been prompted into action over the future of New Zealander.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 30, 2019
According to the The Japan Times, the JRFU has started negotiations with Joseph over a contract extension, whose current deal is set to expire in December. With excitement sweeping the nation following the victory and previous lessons learned from having lost Jones in 2015, the JRFU are reportedly keen to lock down their supremo and allow him to continue to build on the success he has so far achieved.
The win over Ireland, who were the number two ranked side in the world prior to kick off, has given Japan complete control of Pool A. If the Rugby World Cup hosts can hold serve and beat Samoa and Scotland in their remaining pool games, they will top the group and qualify for the quarter-finals, a feat that Japan has never achieved before. They would also become the first tier two nation to top a pool at the Rugby World Cup.
Joseph, who has previously coached Wellington, the Maori All Blacks and the Highlanders, has been with Japan since 2016, as well as holding a role with the Sunwolves, Japan’s soon-to-be axed Super Rugby franchise. Under his guidance, Japan have regularly threatened the top 10 in World Rugby’s global rankings and are currently sitting at 8th, above tier one nations Scotland (9th), Argentina (10th) and Italy (14th).
Watch: Joe Schmidt and Rory Best speak to the press after their surprise loss to Japan
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