Jones: Japan not near ready for RWC

2015-05-02 12:47
Eddie Jones (Gallo Images)

Tokyo - Japan coach Eddie Jones admitted his side were "a long way off" being ready for the Rugby World Cup despite crushing Hong Kong 41-0 in the Asian rugby championship on Saturday.

After watching the 'Brave Blossoms' dish out a roasting to the visitors to make it two wins out of two in the inaugural Asian tournament, Jones complained his players were still "dreaming of fish and chips" following a recent training trip to England.

"This week some of our players haven't been sleeping and we still have players waking up at three in the morning," Jones told reporters, partly blaming Japan's erratic performance on the effects of jet-lag.

"We are a long way from where need to be. But we got a bit more of the rust off us and I was pleased with the intent," added the former Australia coach. "It was a real mental test and it was a step in the right direction - not a big step, but a good step."

Japan's butter-fingered display in Tokyo had Jones squirming on the sidelines, their problems summed up when winger Akihito Yamada was flattened and left in a heap by team-mate Karne Hesketh in the first half.

"We must have picked up a hand disease in England," said Jones sheepishly. "We've got to find some way to get rid of it. We tried to find some rhythm but we were marred by some individual errors."

Yamada darted over the try line twice while Hesketh, Luke Thompson and substitute Yoshikazu Fujita were also among the try scorers, but Japan produced little to strike fear into World Cup opponents South Africa, Scotland, Samoa and the United States.

Japan toiled to beat South Korea 56-30 two weeks ago in their opening game of the Asian rugby championship and Jones insisted they still had plenty of work to do before rugby's showcase event begins in September.

"Against Korea we were probably at 20 percent," said Jones, slightly exaggerating how far away Japan were from peak form.

"We were probably 21 percent today. If we improve by one percent every day between now and the World Cup we will be at 100 percent by September 19."

Jones cut a frustrated figure after a game littered with 31 penalties.

"The scrums were a mess," he grumbled. "But it's hard when the opposition don't want to scrum, and it's difficult to play away from the set piece with a referee like that."

Hong Kong coach Andrew Hall bravely put a positive spin on his team's whitewash after a second successive defeat.

"Despite the fact the score says 41 points and nothing to us, there's a sense of positivity," insisted the Scot.

Japan broke into the world's top 10 for the first time last year after a string of 10 successive wins, including a victory over Six Nations side Italy.

The Japanese have played at all seven previous World Cups but won just one game, beating Zimbabwe in 1991.

Read more on:    japan  |  eddie jones  |  rugby

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