Japan: Jamie Joseph says All Blacks not as fearsome as they used to be

David Skippers
Jamie Joseph Japan coach v B&I Lions 2021 - Alamy.jpg

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said sides are not afraid of New Zealand any more after his team gave the All Blacks a scare before suffering a 38-31 defeat in Tokyo on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, the Brave Blossoms gave a good account of themselves and pushed the three-time world champions all the way and the result was in the balance until Richie Mo’unga slotted a penalty in the game’s dying moments.

Indifferent form in 2022

New Zealand appear to have lost their aura of invincibility as apart from this narrow victory, they have lost four Tests in 2021 which includes two defeats in their three-Test series against Ireland in July.

And New Zealand-born Joseph, who represented the All Blacks in 20 Tests between 1992 to 1995, said his side were full of confidence of causing an upset against their more fancied opponents in Tokyo on Saturday.

“Everyone is thinking about the All Blacks and that’s part of their armour, really,” he said.

“Having played for the All Blacks, one of the things we used to talk about 25 years ago was that everyone was a wee bit scared of us.

“Perhaps that’s not the case any more, I’m not sure.”

Veteran blindside flanker Michael Leitch, who was also born in the land of the long white cloud, echoed Joseph’s sentiments.

“In the past, teams have come up against the All Blacks and psychologically you think they are unbeatable but now those cracks are showing,” he said.

“It’s doable, and we showed that today. Give us an extra 10 minutes and who knows what would have happened.”

Frustrated after loss

Brave Blossoms captain and hooker Atsushi Sakate was left frustrated after his team came so close to causing an upset.

“We went into the game looking to win it and we’ve (been) preparing for that all week,” he said.

“When I looked at everyone’s face during the warm-up, I could see that we all had a lot of confidence. So to end up losing means that we fell just short.”

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