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‘Be the best you can, don’t waste a minute’

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

Name: Eddie Jones
Age: 54
Nationality: Australian
Occupation: Head coach of the Japanese rugby team
Likes: Rugby
Dislikes: Orthodox rugby


1. What first brought you to Japan? I was asked to coach the Tokai University rugby team in 1996.

2. What’s keeping you here? I’d like to get Japan’s national rugby team into the top 10 in world rankings.

3. Who in Japan do you most admire? Ex-Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. He has such a strong desire to win.

4. Where do you go to escape Tokyo? Odawara onsen (hot spring). It’s nice and relaxing.

5. What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? Zenzen dame (absolutely useless). This phrase is so expressive and clear; many Japanese words are gray.

6. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? “Fair dinkum?,” or “Are you serious?” It’s an Australian phrase that’s very clear and direct in terms of meaning.

7. Describe your most embarrassing moment. Experiencing a big loss while coaching the Queensland Reds. The (Pretoria-based) Bulls beat us 92-3.

8. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? When I first came to Tokai University, the captain ran everything and the head coach had to follow everything the captain said.

9. If you were a ruck, what kind of forward would you be? I would try to be like Kin-chan (the nickname of lock Hitoshi Ono of the Toshiba Brave Lupus). He puts 100 percent effort into every game.

10. Who would you say is the greatest rugby player of all time? George Smith (Australia) or Richie McCaw (New Zealand). They play every game as if it is their last.

11. Can you suggest an unusual tactic that has yet to be tried that could improve rugby in Japan? (eg. the recruitment of robots?) Playing a small guy such as Fumi (Panasonic Wild Knights halfback Fumiaki Tanaka) as hooker.

12. What must Japan do if it is to qualify for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup in 2019? The Japanese team must be the fittest in the world.

13. How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator? Make a bigger refrigerator than the elephant.

14. What superhero would you most like to be? Batman. I like his car.

15. How would you find a needle in a haystack? Use a magnet.

16. What do you think about while standing on the train? I think about what I have to do next.

17. If you won ¥1 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money? Give it to charity.

18. Who would win a fight between a lion and tiger? Tough question. Whichever was hungriest.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up? I am 53 old now and pretty grown up. I am very happy to be head coach of Japan.

20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? Be committed, be focused and be the best you can. Don’t waste a minute.

The Tokyo Sevens will be held on March 22-23 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground in Aoyama. For tournament info, please visit the Japan Rugby Football Union’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/japanrugbyfootballunion.