Wales v Japan: South Africa win has taken its toll says Jamie Joseph

Jamie Joseph
Jamie Joseph left Otago Highlander at the end of the 2016 Super Rugby season to join Japan
Under Armour Series: Wales v Japan
Venue: Principality Stadium Date: Saturday, 19 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Head coach Jamie Joseph is concerned Japan's players are not motivated enough following their win over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Japan, who stunned the Springboks 34-32, face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Joseph, who succeeded Eddie Jones, has drafted 17 new players and admits lack of hunger has had an effect on them.

"We've lost a lot of players to retirement or unavailability. The fame of the match against South Africa has paid a toll," he said.

"Players aren't as hungry or as motivated to play for Japan any more. That is a concern for me and the coaches, but we've got a lot of new guys and they're starting to build into a good side."

Japan in action against South Africa at the 2015 World Cup
Japan's victory over South Africa in 2015 was their first World Cup win since 1991

"This is what this tour is all about."

Japan, then coached by England's current boss Eddie Jones, stunned two-time champions South Africa in the pool stage, causing arguably the biggest upset in rugby union history with victory in Brighton.

Under Joseph, they were beaten 54-20 by Argentina in their opening game of the autumn series, but beat Georgia 28-22 last weekend.

The Cherry Blossoms beat Wales 23-8 the last time the teams met in June 2013, but Joseph is expecting a tough test at the Principality Stadium.

"Wales is a very strong team playing at home and most teams struggle to win here," said Joseph, who represented Japan at the 1999 World Cup having previously played for the All Blacks.

"But what an experience it's going to be for us. We want to perform in a Japanese way and we understand the set piece is going to be tough for us, so we've been working really hard at that.

"We're playing big men and we understand that, so we have to be more agile at set pieces for example the line-out - we have to be more innovative to win the ball.

"But we have got a fair bit of speed and a fair bit of skill so if we get the right sort of ball and the right sort of positions then I'm confident we can score a few tries."

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