Eddie Jones makes bold claim for Japan in the international arena

David Skippers
Eddie Jones before Barbarians' clash with Wales in 2023.

Japan's new head coach Eddie Jones.

Japan’s new head coach, Eddie Jones, has revealed that he is aiming to make the Brave Blossoms one of the best four teams in the world.

The 64-year-old started in his position as Japan’s new boss at the beginning of 2024 and is currently in his second stint in charge of the Brave Blossoms.

Currently in 12th spot in the world

Japan currently occupy 12th position in World Rugby’s official rankings, with South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and France sitting pretty as the game’s leading Test nations, but Jones believes Japan will be challenging those countries for a spot amongst the game’s elite.

Jones’ first assignment upon his return to the Brave Blossoms will be against fifth-ranked England, whom he coached from 2016 to 2022, in Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo on June 22.

“There’s no reason why we can’t jump into the top four,” Jones told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. “We need to create a new style of play that is adventurous, that suits Japanese instincts, that is attacking.”

Jones also revealed that he is keen to bring through new talent and is hoping to find the rugby equivalent of Japanese baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani, who plies his trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the United States’ Major League Baseball (MLB) competition.

“It’s about how we can make young players be really ambitious in wanting to be the best player they can and create the next rugby Ohtani,” he said.

Joe Schmidt takes a light-hearted dig at Eddie Jones over Japan links

Jones takes over as Brave Blossoms’ head coach from Jamie Joseph, who ended his eight-year spell in charge of the national team following last year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

After being fired from his position as England’s head coach, Jones Jones decided to return to Australia and coach the Wallabies for a second time at the beginning of 2023.

However, that coaching job went pear-shaped. He only managed two wins out of nine matches, and his team got kicked out of the World Cup at the pool stages for the first time.

Defended his second Wallabies stint

Jones defended his second stint in charge of the Wallabies and despite his woeful record and said he had left the team “in a better place.”

“Don’t have any regrets,” he added. “Like I tried to do my best in a short period of time. And what I think I’ve left Australia is a young squad that’s capable of doing well.

“Sometimes you got to leave things in a better place and maybe you take responsibility for the failure, which is okay.”

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