‘Japan are only going to get better’ – Dave Rennie

Planet Rugby

Australia have heaped praise on Japan after the Brave Blossoms gave the in-form Wallabies a huge fright.

Jamie Joseph’s men produced a superb performance in Oita and were only 27-23 behind going into the latter stages before Connal McInerney’s late try put the result beyond doubt.

Following their World Cup success in 2019, where the Japanese reached the quarter-finals for the first time ever, and the majority of their displays since then, many think that they should be included in one of the big annual international tournaments.

That would likely be the Rugby Championship given the proximity to Australia and New Zealand.

And although Rennie did not disclose his opinion on that matter, he was impressed with what he saw on Saturday.

Developed depth in the squad

“They’re a good side. They’ve got outstanding staff who’ve developed genuine depth,” he told reporters.

“They’re only going to get better I think so, yeah certainly worthy of where they’re sitting in the world. And certainly great for them to be playing a lot of tier one nations now maybe compared to what they were doing two or three years ago.”

Those views were echoed by Michael Hooper, who hailed pretty much every aspect of Japan’s game, from defence to attack.

“Their ability to recycle ball, threaten you from all areas on the park has been really good,” Hooper said.

“Sometimes it felt today that we were able to put a lot of pressure on the Japanese side and they were able to find solutions and get out of that and flip it straight back onto us.

“They’ve got a pretty complete game. They’re good at the breakdown, got good attacking players and their set-piece is getting better…They’re a team that’s improving fast.

“In terms of that game itself, look it was more up tempo than some of The Rugby Championship there. Definitely not the New Zealand games.

“Japan’s intent to throw quick lineouts, get the ball moving around, keep the ball in the field of play with their kicks and then just generally run it back.

“Came close at the end there but it certainly felt like we’re all over them for most of the game and let them in with some poor discipline and some poor skill error.”


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