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Fiji coach McKee denies Japan rumors

by Rich Freeman

Kyodo

Fiji coach John McKee refuted rumors Tuesday that he was heading to Japan after the Rugby World Cup.

“There has been some media speculation but I am committed to Fiji rugby,” the former Australia under-20s coach said following his side’s testy 47-15 win over Uruguay in Pool A. McKee was responding to media reports from Australia that suggested both he and his assistant — South African Frans Ludeke, who coached the Bulls to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2009 and 2010 — would be heading to Japan to take over both the national team and the Sunwolves, Japan’s new Super Rugby side.

Eddie Jones’ decision to leave Japan after the World Cup has left the Japan Rugby Football Union scouring the globe for a replacement.

Kyodo News has learned a number of high-profile coaches were approached before the World Cup, but all declined the offer.

The Sunwolves’ first game is slated for Feb. 27 against the Lions in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, McKee’s current team was involved in a bizarre postscript to its final game at this year’s World Cup.

Uruguay scrumhalf Agustin Ormaechea was initially named man-of-the-match despite having been shown a red card, but World Rugby overturned the decision — based on fans’ votes — and gave the award to Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa.

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