Big test ahead for improving Japan

Date published: September 15 2015

Japan forwards coach Steve Borthwick says the team has made significant progress in the last three years ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The former England captain is excited to see how Japan cope with the physical threat posed by the Springboks in the team's first game this Saturday.

"Since 2012, the team has made a lot of progress. We've had wins against Tier 1 nations and got up to ninth in the world rankings building up to the World Cup. This is where we'll be tested.

"It's great to be here in England. It's a privilege to be involved with Japan at the World Cup. Hopefully it will be a good World Cup for Japan but I think it will be a great World Cup overall, a great tournament.

"We need to make sure that we have a team that performs, that produces results everyone back in Japan can be proud of and inspires the next generation of players.

"We're playing one of the world's best teams – the world's biggest teams. We've got to try things and play the game a different way. It's an enormous physical challenge. Our forwards have to produce the best possible performances they can."

Borthwick added that Eddie Jones' experience of working with South Africa in the past might be a small benefit for the Brave Blossoms.

"Clearly, Eddie does know a lot about South Africa and South African players, but the level of analysis that will be done by every team at the World Cup – particularly teams like South Africa – will be extraordinary.

"So they will have researched every one of our players and watched every one of our games over the last few years.

"They will have looked at the players in the Top League and every game they played for Japan. I think they'll know a lot about us as well."