Rugby World Cup 2011

Kirwan eyeing Henry's job

2011-09-14 14:22
John Kirwan (File)

Hamilton - Japan coach, John Kirwan will guide his team to Friday’s RWC against hosts New Zealand, knowing that the Asians will be overwhelming underdogs, but admits that he would love to be on the other side of the tunnel as he plots the downfall of his countrymen.

Kirwan, who lifted the World Cup with the All Blacks in 1987 has told New Zealand-based newspaper, The Dominion Post, that coaching the All Blacks was definitely one of his goals, albeit a long-term one.

“If they called me I would certainly say yes,” he said.

“I want to be the best that I can be and that’s the best job in the world. That would be the proudest moment in my life.”

But for now, Japan’s Brave Blossoms will have Kirwan at the helm till the end of December when his contract is set to expire.

However, Kirwan has his sights fixed on the present and is not expecting a call from the NZRFU any time soon.

“At this stage, I’m concentrating on playing in this league, I’ve got to get a team ready for a big challenge. My focus is on the World Cup,” he said.

His team put in a highly-spirited performance against France on Saturday, but Kirwan maintains that the team’s goals will not be altered despite their fine showing.

“Our goals are to win two games... it’s important now that we keep our powder dry and get through the next 10 days... we’ve got a hard run in and it’s important that we plan for that,” he said.

The two games which Kirwan is targeting to win are Japan’s last two games of the Pool phase against Tonga and Canada respectively, which is the main reason he has rested eleven of the starting XV which played against the French.


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Taking into account where it will be held, the likely player retirements and new coaches in charge, which team looks best-placed to mount a challenge to the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England?


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