- Title: Preparation and attention to detail key to Japan's rugby success
- Date: 16th October 2019
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) JAPAN TEAM WORKING OUT IN GYM SESSION VARIOUS OF JAPAN CAPTAIN MICHAEL LEITCH WORKING OUT VARIOUS OF PLAYERS WORKING OUT LOCK WIMPIE VAN DER WALT WORKING OUT
- Embargoed: 30th October 2019 09:32
- Keywords: Japan Rugby World Cup
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001B1CIWCF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Preparation and attention to detail have been key to Japan's success so far at the Rugby World Cup, with coach Jamie Joseph having the players in camp since January and stressing the need for different game plans for each opponent.
This stretches as far as utilizing some of the more junior members of the squad, who may not appear on matchday but are central to Joseph's plans.
Before each match, the reserve players have been studying the tendencies and tactics of their opponents' scrum and then replicating that in practice, giving the starting pack ideal preparation.
It is this attention to detail that has seen Japan consistently challenge their much heavier opponents at scrum time during this tournament.
They will certainly need it against quarter-final opponents South Africa.
"(Hooker Takuya) Kitade and (back row Yoshitaka) Tokunaga are contributing and help us build our scrummaging strategy," said scrum coach Shin Hasegawa on Wednesday (October 16).
The reserve players are doing more than just making up the numbers, researching the opponents themselves and trying to mirror their nuances.
Since taking over in 2016, Joseph has also looked to make his players' more independent.
This has meant leaning on a leadership group containing the likes of captain Michael Leitch, flanker Pieter Labuschagne and flyhalf Yu Tamura.
Such is the importance Joseph places on this, he has employed David Galbraith as the team's mental coach.
Galbraith is constantly challenging his players in situations of stress to try and replicate the decisions they will have to make on the field.
It includes setting players a quiz during their daily weight session.
"He makes quizzes and writes them on the whiteboard," revealed hooker Atushi Sakate.
Japan know they will need all their wits about them coming up against the experience and brawn of two-time champions South Africa on Sunday but if they are to fail during their first ever World Cup knockout match, it certainly won't be from a lack of preparation.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)
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