Prop Keita Inagaki has shrugged off the lack of remuneration Japan’s players are getting despite reaching a first-ever World Cup quarter-final.
It was two days before their pool-clinching win over Scotland last Sunday that coach Jamie Joseph revealed the extraordinary lengths his Japanese squad had undertaken to put themselves on the cusp of knockout stage qualification.
“This team has been in camp for the last 240 days. While the majority of the players are professionals with company-based teams, as a rugby team Japan is amateur,” he said.
“Other than $100 a day [expenses], no one gets paid for being in camp. I will let you guys do the maths and make comparisons with other teams.”
That remuneration compares terribly with the other seven quarter-finalists at the World Cup. However, Inagaki, who started in all four of Japan’s pool victories, isn’t dwelling on how his squad are being hit in the pocket.
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“Money is a very important thing in life but we aren’t playing for Japan because of money. We have a cause. Money isn’t something we can control, so we don’t really care. What matters to us is playing and understanding why we’re getting this opportunity to play.”
Hooker Shota Horie, who started three pool matches, is hoping Japan can now produce a display versus South Africa that will make their people proud.
Asked what impact rugby can have on people’s lives in Japan, he said: “That differs from person to person, I suppose, but some get power or courage, some might just enjoy it as a sport, but we always try to put in a performance that can move people. We hope that will happen in the next game too.”
WATCH: The RugbyPass guide to Tokyo ahead of this weekend’s World Cup quarter-finals
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