• Kyodo

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Super Ruby-winning coach Jamie Joseph is Japan’s first choice to replace Eddie Jones as the head coach of the Brave Blossoms, a Japan Rugby Football Union source said Tuesday.

The JRFU is currently negotiating with the 46-year-old coach of the Highlanders. Although a deal won’t be struck in time for it to be approved at Thursday’s board of directors meeting, the JRFU is aiming to have an agreement before the end of the year.

One of the issues being discussed is Joseph’s arrangement with the Highlanders. The former forward, who played internationally for both New Zealand and Japan, is under contract with the team through the end of the 2016 Super Rugby season in August.

Meanwhile, the JRFU has settled on former All Blacks hooker Mark Hammet to coach Japan’s first entry in Super Rugby, the Sunwolves. Japan Super Rugby will announce its coaching staff and squad on Monday and is moving to have him signed by that time.

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