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Japan coach to stay on for next Rugby World Cup

Jamie Joseph said on Monday he will stay on as head coach of Japan through the next Rugby World Cup in 2023, a decision that rules him out of the vacant All Blacks coaching role.

Joseph, who led Japan to their first World Cup quarterfinal last month, said in a statement: “I have great expectations for rugby in Japan and I’m very honoured that I can lead the team towards the next World Cup.”

Joseph was among 26 New Zealanders invited by the All Blacks to replace Steve Hansen, who stepped down at the end of the World Cup this month.

The former All Black oversaw a campaign by Japan that exceeded all expectations and lit up the tournament – the first World Cup held in Asia and outside the traditional rugby heartlands.

Japan beat Ireland 19-12 and Scotland 28-21 to top their pool and lift their world ranking to an all-time high of sixth.

They eventually lost in the quarterfinals against South Africa, the tournament’s eventual winners.

But the Brave Blossoms’ performances captured the hearts of fans across the nation and raised the profile of rugby in a baseball-mad country. – AFP

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