Japan need to improve - Jones

2012-05-20 10:57
Eddie Jones (File)

Tokyo - Japan head coach Eddie Jones has urged his squad to strengthen their scrum and boost their fitness before the Asian champions defend the Pacific Nations Cup next month.

"We need to get far better in the scrum," the former Wallaby coach said after Japan whitewashed Hong Kong 67-0 in Tokyo on Saturday to secure a fifth straight Asian Five Nations title.

"We don't have the leg strength to scrimmage low. We need to develop a low effective scrum," said Jones, who assumed his post last month with a goal of leading Japan into the world's top 10 by the 2015 World Cup in England.

By taking their final match of the round robin, the Brave Blossoms remained unbeaten with 20 straight wins in the five-year history of the Asian Five Nations.

South Korea, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan will play their final matches next Saturday.

Against more physical Tonga, Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup, Jones said his players were still not strong or fit enough.

But he said they had improved in the six weeks they have been together.

"They have put on muscle and got quicker and with the type of rugby we are playing they are going to get better," said the 52-year-old, who coached his home country Australia to the 2003 World Cup final.

Japan will host the first five of six matches in the Pacific Nations, starting on June 5 in Nagoya, to boost their preparations to stage the 2019 World Cup. The final match will be played in Fiji on June 23.

The tournament was inaugurated in 2006 and Japan won it for the first time last year under the tutelage of All Blacks legend John Kirwan.

Jones, who helped Suntory Sungoliath to Japan's top league and national championship double in the 2011-2012 season, praised his squad which included many inexperienced players and just one foreigner: flank Michael Leitch of New Zealand.

"I can't fault the players' attitude at all," he said. "They are learning really quickly and working very hard."

"If we are to be one of the top 10 teams in the world then we have to be the hardest working team in the world."

Read more on:    eddie jones  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.