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'They Are Definitely Going To Have A Plan' - Japan's Quest For Another World Cup Shock

'They Are Definitely Going To Have A Plan' - Japan's Quest For Another World Cup Shock
By Maurice Brosnan

Ireland have set sail for Shizuoka Stadium as they prepare for the hosts Japan on Saturday and as far as Leinster trio Scott Fardy, James Lowe and Sene Naoupu are concerned, a big challenge awaits.

Scott Fardy is extremely familiar with Ireland's opponents having played in Japan for several years. Speaking at the Balls.ie World Cup preview event in association with Windsor MotorMall Renault, the Australian lock explained that they have one world-class player who can make a difference.

They are going to be a tough game. Obviously, South Africa were pretty good against them a few weeks ago but they are playing at home in front of a big crowd and that can lift you a lot. I think Ireland will have to play a decent side to knock them off.

All the guys in the squad are fantastic players but I think Michael Leitch is one most underrated players in world rugby. To me, he is the best six running around in rugby at the minute. He is the most complete backrower I have played against.

Japan are also benefiting from expert coaching in Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown. The duo have had ample time to prepare for this World Cup and Irish women's international Sene Naoupu said the signs of improvement have been evident.

"Tony Brown is from where I am from and he is doing a great job with the national team. You can see over the last few games they have got better and better."

As well as his role with the international team, Tony Brown also joined Japanese Super Rugby side the Sunwolves as a coach and thus has been able to work intimately with his players in a meticulously controlled environment.


It is all in a bid to reproduce a shock like the one Japan pulled off at the 2015 World Cup under Eddie Jones when they defeated South Africa.

Leinster winger James Lowe felt they are plotting the same again. However, he said they might be timing their run for the most likely chance of an upset, meaning prioritising their final two games against Samoa and Japan.

Going back to Leitchy, I was fortunate enough to play with him. He was talking about when they played South Africa at the last World Cup and they literally had a two-year plan leading up to playing South Africa. He was saying they were playing all their pre-season games against club teams with a gameplan that was going to beat South Africa.

"They are definitely going to have a plan, probably targetting Scotland in that last game."

Scott Fardy, Sene Naoupu and James Lowe were speaking at Windsor MotorMall Renault with thanks to WindsorMotors to preview this year's Rugby World Cup.

SEE ALSO: Conan O'Donnell, Ref Controversy, Ireland vs Japan Preview - World In Union

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