Jones won’t make excuses for Japan

Date published: September 23 2015

Japan boss Eddie Jones refused to make excuses for the four-day turnaround after his side's heavy loss to Scotland on Wednesday.

The Brave Blossoms were right in the Pool B clash at Kingsholm after 50 minutes, trailing 12-10, before Scotland sprinted clear in the final half an hour by scoring five tries.

The draining effects of Saturday's stunning upset win over South Africa were crystal clear, but Jones wouldn't say whether the lack of rest had contributed, instead insisting that his side had not been good enough.

"At half-time we had a realistic chance to win the game. One team took their opportunities and the other one didn't," he said.

"They were good in the tackle, slowed our ball down with their second man into the tackle which made it hard for us to get any momentum and we rely on the quickness of the ball.

"They were too good for us today.

"We're a fit team. I thought we did pretty well, we kept running, we just weren't good enough, mate.

"We're not using the fatigue as an excuse. They played too well in the second half and scored 32 points."

How Japan might have fared with more time to recovery before facing Scotland is impossible to tell, with Jones admitting that matching the intensity his side played with in Brighton was too much to ask.

"On today's evidence, it's probably not possible to maintain that intensity from Saturday in four days. But we had to be better than we were today to win," he added.

"That was our challenge, but we got the result we did. You have to accept it and do the best we can. We play a high energy game."

Amanaki Mafi's ball-carrying was key for Japan when staying in the game, with the Tongan-born number eight backing up his impressive showing against the Springboks with a number of line breaks before being stretchered off.

"Mafi was a big loss," Jones said.

"Two years ago he was playing second division university rugby. He's an unbelievable talent who has only played about five Top League games in Japan. He was giving us that point of attack, but then again you have to be good enough to get over that.

"He's at the hospital now getting checked out. He dislocated his hip eight months ago and made the most remarkable recovery, so we hope it's nothing to do with that but we'll wait and see." 

Scotland face the USA on Sunday before taking on South Africa the following weekend, but despite their big win over the Brave Blossoms he believes they may struggle despite looking impressive at times.

"I'd be very surprised if Fourie du Preez doesn't start and run the game, and then you'll see a completely different [South Africa] team. If they do that it will be difficult for Scotland to beat them," he added.

"I don't know if Scotland will get enough set-piece advantage against South Africa. But having said, I was really impressed by Scotland today. At times we had them but they regathered well, their recovery in defence was excellent.

"I'm sure they'll be pleased with that performance."

by Ben Coles at Kingsholm