Saturday 20 January 2018

Japan coach Jamie Joseph outlines his plan to deal with 'powerful' Ireland

Jamie Joseph
Jamie Joseph

Brendan Fanning in Japan

Japan coach Jamie Joseph was candid enough today to admit that their change at 10 for the Test against Ireland tomorrow was driven in part by the need to finish what they started.

A week ago against Romania they ran the away side ragged but then lost the plot a bit themselves, and suffered on the penalty count when they should have been playing the game far from their own posts. So for this week out has gone Jumpei Ogura, despite hitting seven off the tee, and back has come the experienced Yu Tamura.

"(There was) A bit of that, yeah,” Joseph said. “In the second half after Michael Leitch had scored the try, we were up 30-9 and I think we were guilty of losing a little bit of composure which was coupled with some refereeing decisions that didn't go our way eg defending our mauls. We had a discussion with the referee and he agreed that some mistakes were made there.”

He meant on the part of French referee Alexandre Ruiz. In which case he’ll be hoping South African Maruis van der Westhuizen doesn’t go down the same road.

Certainly the plan is to give Ireland too much to cope with initially and then hang on to whatever advantage that throws up. 

“You've just got to be really smart with the heat,” Joseph said. “Our players obviously have been brought up in the weather and are a little bit more used to it.

“But we've got to really smart with our energy and how much we run the ball. It's all very well saying we want to play the game fast but we don't want to tire ourselves out either, if we don't do it intelligently.

“So, we've got a plan around trying to achieve that. If we can do that then I do think we can put some pressure on Ireland. When teams come under pressure that's when they do wrong things, and that's our opportunity.

“There are two contrasting styles. Ireland are very direct, set piece orientated but they can also run the ball. They kick the ball a lot in their defensive half. We've got to create pressure, in my mind, by keeping the flow of the game very fast, very unstructured so we can move the bigger, more powerful (Ireland) players around the track.

“If we do like we did last week (against Romania), we can create pressure and score tries. If not, then it gets really difficult. We've got a plan in place. I think if our players can execute that, we'll go ok.”

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