Rugby Rugby: Japan will not play again in 2020 due to COVID-19 – JRFU – Reuters UK

Rugby: Japan will not play again in 2020 due to COVID-19 – JRFU – Reuters UK



TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s national rugby union team will not play again this year because of safety fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese Rugby Football Union (JRFU) said on Monday.

Head coach Jamie Joseph said Japan, who had games against England and Wales cancelled earlier this year due to the outbreak, had been due to play against Europe’s top teams in an eight-nation tournament later this year.

Japan have not played a test match since their quarter-final loss to eventual champions South Africa at last year’s Rugby World Cup on home soil.

“We have concluded there will be no test matches this year,” JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi told a media briefing on Monday.

“As a staff we are thinking proactively how to use the momentum of our achievement at the World Cup to move forward.”

Since signing a new contract following Japan’s stunning World Cup run, Joseph has stressed the importance of having test matches against Tier One nations.

“We were allocated test matches to play in the eight nations. That would have been a wonderful tournament to be a part of, not only this year but for the future,” said Joseph.

“It would give our players the much needed experience they need to develop their game and test it … against some of the best teams in
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