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Japan Here To Gain More

Junior Japan aims to learn, gain more rugby knowledge playing against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in the World Rugby Pacific Challenge which starts at the ANZ Stadium in Suva tomorrow.
07 Mar 2016 14:30
Japan Here To Gain More
Junior Japan training at Buckhurst ground.

Junior Japan aims to learn, gain more rugby knowledge playing against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in the World Rugby Pacific Challenge which starts at the ANZ Stadium in Suva tomorrow.

Head coach Ryuji Nakatake said the team comprised of Under-20 players and the competition provides a good platform for them to gain experience.

“We have new players and we are using this as a learning curve for them,” Nakatake said.

“We would like to try to gain some experience playing against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga because they are much bigger than us.

“It will allow us to come up with strategies and skills that will help us match up against them.

“Pacific islanders have an advantage over us when it comes to size, so this is a good chance to test the young players.”

With most countries starting preparations early for the next Rugby World Cup in 2019 in Japan, Nakatake is also keeping the four-yearly event in mind during this tour.

“As head coach, I’m also here to develop, identify players for the next RWC. So this is more like a trial run for these players,” he said.

“What better way to test our players and find out how well they can perform under pressure then pitching them against players from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.”

Nakatake is anticipating a good test in their opening game against Tonga A.

“We would like to challenge and be competitive in this tournament, Tongans are big and strong and we are expecting big hits.   But we need to fight our way out to win.

“We have fitness and agility as an advantage and we intend to use that to use to counter the fact that the Tongans are big.

“I came here last year and we had a good experience and I said then that any experience will be good for the players in the long run and this tour will be very important.”

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