Eddie Jones (Gallo Images)
London - Japan coach Eddie Jones has fired
a stunning broadside at the Asian nation's rugby board, accusing it of holding
back the sport and casting doubt on its ability to build on the Brave Blossoms'
breakthrough World Cup win over South Africa.
Jones led Japan to their greatest rugby
triumph just over a week ago, a 34-32 win over the Springboks that prompted
nearly 20 million Japanese to tune in to their next match against Scotland, a
The win over South Africa was lauded as
Japan's 'coming of age' as a rugby nation by pundits worldwide, but Jones was
far less bullish about the 2019 World Cup hosts' prospects.
"The legacy now is how the Japan Rugby
Football Union uses the win and how strong they are in developing good coaching
systems and improving infrastructure to go forward," the 55-year-old
Australian told Kyodo News at Japan's team base in Warwick, England.
"This is like a balloon. It can be
popped or it can be a real growth spurt. It's entirely the responsibility of
"To keep improving, things have to
change. I couldn't go back after the World Cup and do what I have done for the
last four years because we are not going to improve enough within the current
structures. I know enough about rugby to know that."
Jones, who coached Australia to the 2003
World Cup final, said the Brave Blossoms were not just a representative team of
Japan's top players, but also had to act as a development team and a casualty
ward for their injured.
"We've had to use it for rehab and
keep injured players with us because we can't send them back (to their domestic
teams)," he said.
"All those things have to change if
Japan wants to be a serious rugby country.
"One of the reasons I decided not to
continue was because I didn't think those things could change."
After four years in charge, Jones will quit
Japan after the World Cup to coach the Cape Town-based Stormers in the southern
hemisphere's Super Rugby competition.
His departure has also means he won't take
up an appointment as director of Japan's fledgling Super Rugby team which is to
join an expanded 18-team competition next season.
The new team is still unnamed, lacks a
coach and has yet to unveil a playing list but Super Rugby's governing body
SANZAR confirmed it in the draw for the 2016 season released on Monday.
"I am surprised Super Rugby is going
ahead (with them) but maybe there were legal ramifications," Jones said.
"It just hasn't got the right
infrastructure in place to be successful and it could end up doing more harm