Japanese manager Jamie Joseph on Friday named a massive 52-man squad to take on New Zealand, England and France, saying he needed to "add depth" to next year's Rugby World Cup. Japan takes on the All Blacks in Tokyo on October 29, before travelling to Europe to play it against England in November in Twickenham and in Toulouse, France in November.
The hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup recently defeated France by a narrow margin in two friendlies on home soil, but Joseph said he needed to "prepare more players" to meet the demands of top rugby. Rugby World Cup 2023 fans can buy Japan Rugby World Cup Tickets from our website.
"We don't have enough depth, we have to deal with a pandemic," said Joseph, who plans to make adjustments to the team ahead of the All Blacks game.
"That means we could lose players at any time and we need to have enough players to come and play in Test matches."
Joseph named 28 forwards and 24 defenders for the team's training camp, including winger Kotaro Matsushima, who returned to the Japanese domestic league after a stint with France's Clermont.
Loose striker Kazuki Himeno also returned after missing two test series against Uruguay and France in June and July due to injury. Joseph will select a Japan A-team for three home games against Australia A in October in preparation for three exhibition games.
Coaching such a large team "isn't as easy as it sounds," he said.
"There are 50 players and we need to get them to keep up with the way we want to play," said New Zealand-born Joseph.
"It takes some time and some planning."
Joseph said his party's two wins against Uruguay and two defeats against France "reasonably reflected" their position.
Japan led France until the 71st minute in the second Test in Tokyo, but eventually lost 20-15. Japan drew next year at the World Cup in France with Chile, England, Samoa and Argentina.
Japan national rugby union team intensifies training a year before Rugby World Cup
Thursday is a year before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in France. The Japanese national team is strengthening with new goals and new themes.
Brave Blossoms has set itself the target of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup, which starts on September 8 next year.
Under the slogan "One Team", the team reached the quarterfinals in the 2019 event in Japan for the first time.
One of the team's themes this season is 'our team', which means that every player must be willing to take the initiative to lead. Rugby World Cup fans can buy England Vs Japan Tickets from our website.
Head coach Jamie Joseph wants to strengthen his team with practice matches against world powers.
In October and November, Brave Blossoms takes on New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France, which are ahead of Japan worldwide. About 50 players attended a training camp in Oita Prefecture in southwestern Japan. Joseph hopes to cultivate new talents for the national team through fierce competition.
Rugby's popularity in Japan skyrocketed as it reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup.
A major travel agency said it had received many inquiries about travelling to the 2023 World Cup. It started selling tours in April and had to organize a raffle because there were 2.6 times more registrations than the 2015 World Cup in England. An agency official said the man who became a rugby fan during the World Cup three years ago appeared to want to play on tour.
Japan at the Rugby World Cup
The Japanese national team has competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987. They are so far the only team to have reached the Rugby World Cup through Asian regional qualifiers.
In 2019, they advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in the competition, becoming the first team in Asia to participate.
Their best performance was at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Japan defeated South Africa 34-32 in their opening billiards match in what has been called the "biggest Rugby World Cup shock ever". They defeated Samoa and the United States in billiards.
They have four wins and three losses in billiards, the same as Scotland and South Africa, but unlike the other two, Japan didn't score any extra points, so the other two advanced to the quarter-finals.
Japan's first win was a 52-8 win over Zimbabwe in the 1991 tournament under Coach Hiroaki Shukuzawa. Their worst loss came at the 1995 Rugby World Cup when they lost 145-17 to New Zealand, a loss blamed on putting the Japanese Rugby League back a few years.
Since then, at the 2003 World Cup in Australia, the Japanese team, coached by Shogo Mukai, was hailed as one of the best among the so-called "minnow" countries, winning many new Japanese and foreign fans, but the team did not stay in managed to do this win every game.
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