Japan coach Jamie Joseph
Thumbnail credit: Clive Rose - World Rugby via Getty Images
Japan coach Jamie Joseph has praised the Japanese people for their support of the Brave Blossoms over the World Cup tournament. His side lost 26-3 to South Africa last night in Tokyo, ending their most successful World Cup campaign ever.
“I’d like to thank all of the fans who have shown massive support for us, at the stadiums and fan zones” he told a large media contingent last night at the post match press conference.
“Everywhere we looked there’s was just masses of support. The players understood and that really helped us. Sometimes in a tournament home advantage can work against you but our fans have been absolutely fantastic”
Joseph also paid tribute to his team, who were physically battered by a big Springbok side motivated by revenge for their shock loss to the Japanese four years ago.
“That last five minutes when we were down by 20 points, everyone was getting up. There are guys in there [the changing room] with broken ribs.”
The streak of pool play wins that Japan achieved lifted them to sixth on the world rankings, their highest ever. It’s also somewhat provided a blueprint for other tier two nations to punch above their weight, although the level of financial investment would need to be very high.
Joseph in particular deserves a lot of credit for manipulating the system of Japanese rugby to give the team an incredible amount of lead in time to prepare. It paid off tremendously with a landmark win over Ireland, then a pulsating match against Scotland that will probably go down as the game of the tournament.
However, the first thing on Joseph’s mind when asked about what happens next for Japanese rugby was a relatable one.
“Crikey, I need a beer!
“I’m going to really celebrate the efforts and achievements of this team. It’s been a lot of work by a lot of people.”