Monday, September 24, 2012
Japan to sharpen teeth against Wales in June
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian champions Japan will face the fire of World Cup semi-finalists Wales in a two-match home test series next June, the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) said on Monday.
The "Brave Blossoms" will take on the world's sixth-ranked team in Osaka on June 8 and in Tokyo on June 15.
Japan coach Eddie Jones insisted his side needed more games against top opposition in order to stand any chance of improving on their wretched run of results at World Cups.
"Back in May, the Welsh under 20s beat Japan by at least 90 points," the Australian was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
"There is a big gap between the level of rugby played in Japan and international rugby."
Japan's one World Cup victory in 24 matches came against Zimbabwe in 1991.
"These two tests are so important," said Jones. "But two are not enough. You can't play low level teams and improve. We need 10 games like this a year."
Wales last played in Japan in 2001, when they swept a two-test series after suffering an embarrassing defeat by Suntory in their opening tour game.
(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)