November 18, 2019 / 8:54 AM / 20 days ago

Rugby - Joseph renews contract with Japan through 2023

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Rugby World Cup - Pool A - Japan v Ireland - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan - September 28, 2019 Japan head coach Jamie Joseph during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Jamie Joseph has renewed his contract as coach of Japan until the end of 2023 after leading the side to their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final last month, the Japanese Rugby Football Union said on Monday.

The 49-year-old New Zealander, who was thought to be one of the main contenders to replace Steve Hansen as All Blacks coach, said he was excited about taking the ‘Brave Blossoms’ to the next World Cup in France.

“I have great expectations for rugby in Japan and I’m very honoured that I can lead the team towards the next World Cup,” Joseph said.

Japan won all four of their pool stage matches on home soil, including victories over top-tier nations Ireland and Scotland, to top their group before losing to eventual champions South Africa in the last eight.

“We highly appreciate that (Joseph) built up the skills of the Japan players to the world level in just three years since taking over as head coach of the men’s national team on Sept. 1, 2016,” JRFU President Shigetaka Mori said in a statement.

“By leading us to the best eight for the first time at this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, we were able to glimpse the backs of the world’s best.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how strong Japan can be under the guidance of Mr. Joseph.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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