Jones promises Japan will play attacking rugby

by Staff Writer

Japan's new head coach Eddie Jones vowed on Monday to play "very attacking" rugby as he unveiled a young, mostly homegrown 30-strong squad aiming for a fifth straight Asian Five Nations title.

"That means a lot of things," Jones said the day after he guided Japan's Top League champions Suntory Sungoliath to a second straight national championship ahead of his move to the helm of the Brave Blossoms on April 1.

"When we use the ball very well, that doesn't mean we can keep the ball. But we'll be out to use the ball to create space and to control the defence," said the 52-year-old Australian.

"It'll be very good rugby to watch and we're going to win."

Japan, who have lifted the Asian Five Nations trophy four straight times since its inception in 2008, will play Kazakhstan away on April 28 in their opener of the 2012 edition.

Former Wallabies coach Jones said he had selected the 30 players to win the Asian crown and pave the way for Japan to enter the world's top 10 by the 2015 World Cup in England.

The squad includes 14 uncapped players and just one foreigner: flanker Michael Leitch of New Zealand.

"It's a very exciting squad, lots of good young players, and really good experienced players," said Jones, who was also technical adviser to South Africa when they won the 2007 World Cup in France.

Jones' predecessor, All Black legend John Kirwan, drew fire for selecting 10 foreign-born players for last year's World Cup.

"There's no distinction between foreign and Japanese players," he said. "It's about picking the best players who can play the sort of rugby that, we think, can get us into the top 10 in the world."

He said he did not call up five foreign players who had previously made the national team because of injuries.

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