New Zealand's Rugby News recently published an interesting interview with Japan's new head coach, Australian Eddie Jones. A couple of notable passages:
- I've deliberately left out players [from the first training squad] who have been at previous World Cups and may struggle to be at their best by the time the next World Cup comes around. They still may be the best players in their position in Japan right now, but it's a matter of trying to develop the side, develop the skills, and dtevelop the style of play that's going to take us where we want to go.
- [In 2015] I'm going to need players who have played 30-40 tests who are going to be in that age group of 25-28. You need players who are hardened at the test level and who have won at the test level. [This] Pacific Nations Cup is going to be quite difficult for us, there's no doubt about it because we're going to have quite a young team. But that experience they gain from the tournament is going to be very important.
- Any national team, you want the team to be reflective of your country and your society. You also need the fans behind you.
- I think having won [club championships] and getting to know what makes these players play well well is important. It's like anywhere you go in rugby, really. If you've won your counry's championship prize, or in something like the Super 15, it helps because it shows you know how to win things with your nation's players. I think that's really imporant in terms of giving people confidence going forward.
Jones' views are particularly relevant to the United States in light of the expected re-launch of the Pacific Rim Championship, which would see the 14th-ranked Cherry Blossoms and the 17th-ranked Eagles again meeting on a regular basis.