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Japan rugby coach Jones hospitalized with apparent stroke

Kyodo

Japan head coach Eddie Jones will be hospitalized indefinitely to undergo tests after showing symptoms of a stroke, Kyodo News learned on Wednesday.

The announcement of the Japan squad for the Nov. 2 test against New Zealand was overshadowed by the news that the Brave Blossoms boss was in hospital, after complaining of a severe headache Tuesday while inspecting a training camp site in Miyazaki Prefecture.

According to a source with knowledge of Jones’ situation, he is conscious, speaking and upbeat, but there was no timetable on when he would be released from the hospital.

Waiting for test results, the Japan Rugby Football Union made no official decision or announcement but former South Africa coach Jake White, a close friend of Jones, has told Keo.co.za that he spoke with the 53-year-old Australian’s Japanese wife about his condition.

“He is in intensive care and he currently doesn’t have movement on his left side but he is talking — and typical of Eddie — it’s about the challenge of the All Blacks and the subsequent European tour,” White was quoted as saying.

The JRFU has not confirmed or denied White’s comments, but a union source said, “as far as we have heard, it is not serious.”

Jones’ 32-man squad for the test against the All Blacks — Japan’s first meeting with New Zealand since the 2011 Rugby World Cup — and the four-game European tour that follows contained two uncapped players, when it was announced by team general manager Kensuke Iwabuchi.

Yamaha Jubilo No. 8 Kyosuke Horie and Panasonic Wild Knights wing Akihito Yamada were both included along with four New Zealand-born players in Luke Thompson, Michael Broadhurst, Justin Ives and Male Sa’u.

“I have selected the best 32 players who are performing well at the moment,” Jones said in a statement released in English, after it became clear he would not be attending the news conference at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.

The statement went on to say that Jones and the team were looking forward to creating more history following last year’s victories over Georgia and Romania — their first test-match wins in Europe outside of a Rugby World Cup — and the defeat of Wales this June.

A further three uncapped players, including high-school back Yusuke Kajimura, were named among the six back-up players who will train with the team ahead of the game against the world champions.

The Brave Blossoms leave Japan the day after the All Blacks test for Britain where they will take on Scotland on Nov. 9, Gloucester on Nov. 12 and Russia (in Colwyn Bay) on Nov. 15, before finishing the tour with a test against Spain in Madrid on Nov. 23.