Six Nations bye-weeks would give Japan chance to prove strength - Jones

By Sports Desk November 18, 2019

England coach Eddie Jones does not want to see Japan introduced to the Six Nations at this stage but would be open to the Brave Blossoms playing Northern Hemisphere sides on bye-weeks.

Hosts Japan reached the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time this year, stunning both Ireland and Scotland in the process.

However, Jamie Joseph's side are not involved in annual international competitions either in Europe, with the Six Nations, or in the Southern Hemisphere, with the Rugby Championship.

Japanese club Sunwolves play in Super Rugby alongside teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, yet the Daily Mail reported the Brave Blossoms could be set for a Six Nations invite.

Jones, who led England to the World Cup final, previously coached Japan and wants to see the team develop. However, he believes the international season is long enough already for now.

"I think 10 internationals a year in the Northern Hemisphere is about right," Jones told BBC Sport. "To increase the Six Nations would mean taking away from somewhere else.

"I'd bring Japan in for bye-weeks, so they'd play two games over the next three of four years to prove they are strong enough to compete consistently."

While Japan are still relative newbies at the highest level, Jones believes their World Cup performance can be a lesson to Scotland, who disappointed in missing out on the last eight.

"Gregor [Townsend] has got them back playing how a Scotland side should play," he said. "[Being small] makes it difficult, but you can have one-off success like Japan have had.

"You've got to pool all your resources into being the best 'small' team in the world. That means you look at everything you do, at how you can win ball quickly - particularly from set-pieces.

"You look at how you can win the ball quickly from the breakdown and you need a consistent programme for four years to be at your best to do that.

"You have to play quick, you have to have a varied attack and it takes a lot of cohesion to play that way."

Related items

  • Racing 92 record ninth straight home pool win, Cooney shines for Ulster Racing 92 record ninth straight home pool win, Cooney shines for Ulster

    Racing 92 moved six points clear at the top of Pool 4 by beating Ospreys 40-27 to record their ninth successive home pool win in the European Champions Cup.

    The 2017-18 runners up were without Teddy Thomas, the competition's leading try-scorer, but Racing's two wings - Louis Dupichot and Juan Imhoff - scored three of their team's six tries to shine in the absence of their key man.

    The French side had a 40-5 lead just 15 minutes into the second half and eased off as a result, with Ospreys scoring four of their five tries in the closing 23 minutes.

    With the bonus-point win, Racing opened up a six-point gap above Munster, who face reigning champions Saracens on Saturday.

    Luke Morgan's try saw Ospreys get on the board first but Dupichot, capitalising on a charged-down kick, and Imhoff, intercepting a wayward pass to run in, turned the game on its head.

    The two wings combined again for Imhoff's second and full-back Simon Zebo secured the bonus point before half-time. 

    Replacement Georges-Henri Colombe barged over after picking the ball up from the back of a ruck for a fifth Racing try and Yoan Tanga was similarly unstoppable from close range shortly after.

    Ospreys salvaged some pride and made the scoreline more respectable, though, Lesley Klim handing off Zebo en route to his first try, with the wing adding a second score late on after Luke Price and Shaun Venter had also gone over. 

    John Cooney scored 19 points to take his tally for the season to a tournament-leading 54 as Ulster defeated Harlequins 34-10 to move six points clear in Pool 3.

    Ireland scrum-half Cooney contributed a try in each half, three conversions and an early penalty, with Ulster becoming the first team to win four games in this season's competition.

    Luke Marshall, Matt Faddes and Tom O'Toole were Ulster's other try-scorers, Stephan Lewies providing Quins' only five-pointer.

  • Sexton in battle to be fit for Six Nations opener Sexton in battle to be fit for Six Nations opener

    Johnny Sexton faces a battle to be fit for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland. 

    The fly-half suffered a knee injury during Leinster's European Champions Cup victory over Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.

    Leinster head coach Leo Cullen is unsure how long his captain will be sidelined but is hopeful he will be ready to face Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Andy Farrell's first game in charge on February 1.

    "You would love if he was back [to play for Leinster before the Six Nations], but it's probably more realistic for Ireland," Cullen said.

    "He's seeing somebody in the UK and he'll go back there just to get an update in a couple of weeks.

    "He's working hard to try and get himself back as quickly as possible, but he won't be a million miles away [for the start of the Six Nations] hopefully."

    Scott Fardy will skipper Leinster in the absence of Sexton in the return fixture against Northampton in Dublin on Saturday.

    The Pro14 champions, runners-up in Europe's premier club competition last season, are top of Pool 1 with three wins out of three.

  • Baxter and Exeter coaching staff sign new deals Baxter and Exeter coaching staff sign new deals

    Rob Baxter and his senior Exeter Chiefs coaches have signed new deals with the Premiership club.

    Director of rugby Baxter has extended his stay at Sandy Park until 2023 along with head coach Ali Hepher, forwards coach Rob Hunter and skills coach Ricky Pellow.

    Baxter masterminded Exeter's first Premiership title two years ago and has also overseen two Anglo-Welsh Cup triumphs.

    The long-serving Baxter is targeting further glory after committing his future to Chiefs.

    "Personally, I'm absolutely delighted to have agreed a new three-year contract extension," said Baxter.

    "However, I'm even more pleased that the other coaches have also agreed similar extensions. I think it's a real indication of how happy we all are working alongside one another each day.

    "Together, we understand the ambitions of the club moving forward - and of how exciting this next period is going to be for the rugby club.

    "I think as a group we all feel that everything we want to achieve can be achieved here over these next three years, so it's exciting times for all of us and I'm looking forward to us building on the fantastic foundations we have laid as a collective group."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.