LONDON – Japan Rugby Football Union chairman Noriyuki Sakamoto said Tuesday that the JRFU was “currently looking at the selection” of a new national team coach but that he “couldn’t be certain” an appointment would be made before the end of the year.
Speaking at an event to announce the dates of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and to unveil the tournament logo, Sakamoto said it could be a “long process” and he was uncertain whether the new coach would be Japanese or a foreigner.
Eddie Jones’ decision to leave for the Stormers means the JRFU needs to appoint both a Brave Blossoms and a Sunwolves coach, with the new Super Rugby side kicking off its inaugural season on Feb. 27 in Tokyo against the Lions.
Jones has said that he doesn’t think the two jobs should be combined as some had assumed, and it may be difficult for the JRFU to decide which job needs to be filled first.
Earlier this month, Sakamoto said the JRFU had drawn up a list of 60 potential coaches for the Brave Blossoms, of which just 10 were Japanese.
On Tuesday, he said he had had a very positive response from the potential foreign coaches.
Japan’s performance at the World Cup is still being talked about and the general feeling is that the JRFU needs to act quickly to ensure the momentum gained in terms of support for the team is not lost.
On the day Ayumu Goromaru’s try against South Africa was shortlisted for the International Rugby Players’ Association Try of the Year 2015, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said the Brave Blossoms’ win over the Springboks was one of the greatest upsets in sporting history.
“Possibly the greatest story of Rugby World Cup 2015 has been the success of the Japan team.” he said.
Gosper said he believed the other Tier 2 nations had been inspired by Japan’s performances and that many people in Japan had started to follow the sport because of the way Jones’ team had played.
“The Japan-South Africa game and the victory by Japan, I am sure they will make a Hollywood movie of that. But it wasn’t just that game. The way the Brave Blossoms played throughout was absolutely fantastic,” he said.
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