Brown encourages Japan to keep pushing the barriers

The Brave Blossoms' attack coach is laying the foundations for current and future generations.

TOKYO, 10 Oct - Japan head into their final Pool A encounter with Scotland on Sunday in a position where even a defeat could send them through to the last eight thanks to the two bonus-point victories they have recorded at Rugby World Cup 2019.

One of those wins was against Russia in the tournament's opener, when the hosts scored their first two tries following neat offloads by centres Timothy Lafaele and William Tupou for the first try, scored by Kotaro Matsushima pictured above, and Ryoto Nakamura for the second.

An increase in the number of kicks and attacks from unstructured play that followed is one of the biggest differences made by Japan's coach Jamie Joseph and attack coach Tony Brown who, next season, will return to managing the Highlanders, with whom he won a Super Rugby title in 2015 as a coach.

"The game of rugby is moving fast and you have got to move with it," the 44-year-old former All Blacks fly-half said. "You've got to change the way you play the game and being able to offload, or back-flip, or whatever it may be, you've got to be pushing the barriers all the time to stay ahead of the competition.

"What I find with our Japan team is that the players are skilful enough, dedicated enough and they train hard enough to be able to pull it off when we want them to.

"It's not a fluke, we train hard at it. Our players are as skilful as anyone in the world."

Following the cancellation of two games because of Typhoon Hagibis, Japan must wait until Sunday to learn if their match against Scotland will take place but Brown has prepared the team for all outcomes.

"Not sure about the weather but when I look at the forecast it says sunny and 27. So it should be a good day for footy," he grinned. "It's always difficult to execute in windy conditions.

"Whether we're kicking the ball or moving with the ball in hand, to beat Scotland we're going to have to be good at both, so we need a good kicking game, and good attack, and good defence so we're going to see what the weather does and we'll adjust accordingly on the day."

With the first World Cup in Asia proving to be a huge success both on and off the field, Brown, who first played his club rugby in 2005 with Sanyo Wild Knights, hopes his attractive brand of attacking play can serve as an inspiration for future Brave Blossoms.

"The World Cup's been massive for Japan rugby," he said. "The amount of people who are showing up to the games has been awesome and in my opinion it's the best World Cup there's ever been.

"That inspires young children to take up rugby and it's awesome.

"Around the style of game we're trying to play, that's inspiring in itself, and, if the young kids watching challenge themselves to give it a go, that's all Japan rugby can hope for.

"All the team wants for the young players is to try to inspire them into doing similar things."

RNS mn/dh/pp/ajr