Brussow: Standard in Japan improved

2015-01-09 14:16
Heinrich Brussow (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Heinrich Brussow says the standard of rugby has improved markedly in Japan since he joined the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in 2013.

The influx of top coaches like Eddie Jones, Robbie Deans, John Kirwan, Gary Gold and Hugh-Reece Edwards in the last few years has played a big part in helping improve the game in Japan.

"Apart from the above-mentioned names, there are several other overseas coaches who spend a lot of time here. Club rugby over here has really developed a lot over the last two years," Brussow told Netwerk24.

Japan will enter a team in Super Rugby from 2016 and Brussow is optimistic that the team could fare well, but warned that Super Rugby would still be a big step up.

"The players over here are used to playing against big players like Samoans and Tongans, but to do it on a weekly basis against a team with a strong tight five, will be a massive challenge."

Another challenge for the new Super Rugby team would be to adequately prepare for the competition, according to Brussow.

"The Japanese league normally ends in February. The companies pay big sums of money for their players and would be reluctant to send them to training camps. I think that could be a big problem."

Brussow, along with Red Hurricanes team-mate Johann Sadie, will return to Bloemfontein to play for the Cheetahs in this year's Super Rugby competition, but the exact date of their return is still unknown.

Should the Hurricanes qualify for the knockout rounds this weekend, then the duo will only return to the Cheetahs in early February. Otherwise, they could be back by the end of January.

The Cheetahs will play three warm-up matches - against the Bulls, Stormers and Griffons - and start their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks in Durban on February 14.


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