Four years ago, Eddie Jones trained Japan but Michael Leitch still remembers the advice by the Australian to allow the New Zealand born Japanese skipper to flourish in Test rugby country.
“Eddie helped me to realize that I’m not Japanese,” said Leitch, who has won 59 caps since his first match in 2008 against the United States in Nagoya. Rugby fans are waiting for thrilling performances in RWC. Now you can book online tickets for Rugby World Cup to support your favourite players.
Michael Leitch said, “I have been in Japan for a very long time and he’s the one who reminded me that I’m a New Zealander and that New Zealanders are not good people, we are rough. He helped me realize that this is probably the most important advice he has given me to go from a good player to a better one. “
He has a real care for the players. He loves his coaching job, he has a lot of methods to do it, so sometimes he can be brutally honest. But with honest brutality, he will always put his arm around you and then invite you for a beer or coffee. Eddie is a fantastic coach and I am very lucky to have him as coach of the last World Cup.
He is very popular in Japan. Even now, he trains England, he’s still in the media here in Japan. He is still very popular in the rugby population. He will be considered one of the best coaches who really improved Japanese rugby. When he comes, it will be like going home for him.
Leitch is preparing for the World Cup under a cloud of Super Rugby. Since it was recently announced that the Sunwolves would play the last season of this tournament before being excluded. There is this unfortunate moment, the Sunwolves are what we need to progress in Japanese rugby because the local Top League is not enough, I do not think so.
“The team itself has been ruled out of Super Rugby, but that does not mean that Sunwolves will close. I’m not sure we can play in the Rapid Rugby scene or go to Europe. But having the Sunwolves is the key to Japanese rugby.”
As a host country, Japan will open the 2019 World Cup with a draw against Russia before facing tougher opponents in Ireland, Scotland and Samoa. The Japanese lost to Ireland twice in June 2017 and Leitch recognizes that the 2018 Grand Slam champions will be hard to face next September.
Ireland is a huge threat to us, their piece is very dominant. They form a very clinical team, they do not make mistakes and, for a team like us who wants to play the mistakes, it’s very difficult. Ireland will be the most difficult match for our group.
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