Win over Boks was 'massive' for Japanese rugby

Eddie Jones congratulates his team after their victory against South Africa (AP)
Eddie Jones congratulates his team after their victory against South Africa (AP)

Cape Town - Japan coach Eddie Jones says their Rugby World Cup win over the Springboks has turned the rugby landscape “upside down” in their country.

Japan caused arguably the greatest upset in the history of the World Cup when they beat the Springboks 34-32 in the two teams’ opening game in Brighton.

They tackle the USA at Kingsholm in Gloucester on Sunday and will be looking for their third win of the tournament, having also beaten Samoa 26-5.

Should Samoa beat Scotland, then a win for Japan would see the Brave Blosssoms make the quarter-finals.

But Jones is not that perturbed whether they make the knockout phases or not.

“We’re just going to try and beat the USA. If we beat the USA it’s a good World Cup for us. Then we would have three wins. We can inspire the next generation of young people in Japan to play rugby. That’s pretty worthwhile. If we get into the quarter-finals, then it is an absolute bonus,” Jones said via a video uploaded on the Rugby World Cup’s official Twitter page.

Jones spoke fondly of the win over South Africa when Japan scored a try in the dying moments to win the game. They had a penalty and a shot at goal would have earned them a draw, but captain Michael Leitch took the brave decision to go for the try.

Jones said he wanted Japan to take the draw, but could not get his message through to the players in time.

“For Japanese rugby, it (the win over SA) has turned the whole landscape of the sport upside down in Japan. Twenty-five-million people watching a game of rugby in Japan is unbelievable. It’s a good spot for rugby to be in.”

After completing his World Cup commitments, Jones will head for South Africa where he will coach the Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

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