Rugby Union

Japan head coach Eddie Jones mischievous over England link

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Japan head coach Eddie Jones was in mischievous mood at Kingsholm on Sunday night when asked about speculation linking him to a possible role with World Cup flops England.

Jones, who coached Australia when they lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final, heads to a new job with Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise the Stormers after Japan concluded their Pool B campaign through a 28-18 victory over the United States.

"If anyone comes knocking on your door it's polite to answer. That's all I have said," Jones said.

"If anyone comes knocking on my door, I answer and say 'hello, how are you?' and then listen to what they have got to say.

"I have not said I am interested. All I've said is I will be polite. I am a polite guy.

"When you are 55, you are brought up with good manners. My mother made me carry a handkerchief around all the time when I was a kid, so I've got good manners. I listen to everyone who talks to me."

Jones again underlined his status among the world's top coaches after guiding Japan to three group wins out of four.

But although Japan beat South Africa, Samoa and America, they finished two points behind Pool B runners-up Scotland and became the first nation in World Cup history to win three group games and not secure a quarter-final place.

"Before this tournament, Japan were one of the joke teams. People put out B teams against them and win by 80 points," he added.

"So to win three of four games shows the quality of players we have, and how hard we've worked to achieve this.

"Maybe tonight, there were 30 million people watching in Japan - that's the whole of the Australian population, plus the kangaroo population, New Zealand and all the sheep.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for Japan to have a new generation of players, fans and heroes.

"They (players) have changed the image of Japanese rugby. When you have heroes, kids want to emulate heroes. This isn't just about rugby. This is what sport can do. It can inspire kids, instead of playing baseball or soccer, to play rugby now.

"We set out to be the best attacking team in the world and have the courage to attack. That involves risk.

"If you watch games of rugby at the moment, the defence advantage is enormous. Wales against Australia yesterday was a fantastic Test match, but it was so difficult to score a try.

"To attack is getting harder and harder, which is why teams are relying on power. We don't have power, so we had to use skill and running lines and combinations to break down the defence. It's much harder to create a good attacking team than a good defensive team."

America joined Uruguay in finishing the tournament without claiming a point after they were undone by tries from wings Kotaro Matsushima and Yoshikazu Fujita and substitute Amanaki Mafi that saw Japan home.

Full-back Ayumu Goromaru, one of the tournament's outstanding players, kicked both conversions and landed three penalties, while America replied with tries from wing Takudzwa Ngwenya and full-back Chris Wyles, and fly-half Alan MacGinty booted a penalty double and one conversion.

America head coach Mike Tolkin said: "A feature of all our matches in the World Cup has been our inconsistency. This game was the same. We took a grip at times, but let ourselves down with simple errors.

"The good thing about this tournament is that you haven't had the massive blow-out scorelines that you have had in past World Cups.

"A lot of hard work has paid off, and we (Tier Two nations) will be very competitive in 2019."

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