Japan coach Eddie Jones says he is “surprised” the country’s application for a Super Rugby team has been approved and warned it could severely damage the sport if it fails.
Jones masterminded Japan’s incredible upset win over South Africa at the World Cup but will part ways with the Brave Blossoms at the end of the tournament to coach the Cape Town-based Stormers next year.
In a scathing interview with Kyodo News, Jones said the new Japanese Super Rugby team would not be a success because the rugby powerbrokers in that country were resistant to change.
“I am surprised Super Rugby is going ahead but maybe there were legal ramifications. But I am not privy to that,” Jones said.
“It just hasn’t got the right infrastructure in place to be successful and it could end up doing more harm than good.
“Whenever you bring a new level of rugby into a country you’ve got to reorganise the infrastructure.
“You’ve got to work out the priority games, when the players rest, when they train and I still don’t believe any of that has been done.
“I think you are always going to have a battle between the Top League sides, the universities and the Super Rugby team. And that impacts on the national team.”
Jones had originally agreed to serve as the director of rugby for the yet-to-be-named Japanese franchise but reneged to join the Stormers, saying he did so out of frustration.
“I couldn’t go back after the World Cup and do what I have done for the last four years because we are not going to improve enough within the current structures. I know enough about rugby to know that,” he said.
There is still no indication as to who will coach the Japanese team or how many players from the Brave Blossoms team that beat the Springboks will be involved.
Japan joins the Port Elizabeth-based Kings and an Argentinian side in an expanded, 18-team Super Rugby next year.