Joseph relishing his club, school roles

Jamie Joseph has been back in Dunedin since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in late February, ...
Jamie Joseph has been back in Dunedin since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in late February, lending his coaching skills to both club and schoolboy rugby. Photo: Getty Images
Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has gone back to the grass-roots, but is soon to return to the international game.

Joseph, the coach of the Japanese national team, has been back in Dunedin since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in late February and has been lending his coaching skills to both club and schoolboy rugby.

He has been helping coach the John McGlashan College second XV in the Otago under-18 grade and over the last three weeks has lent his skills to the Southern premier side.

Joseph, though, was looking to return to Japan in the next two to three weeks to help prepare the Japanese side for the eight nation tournament set to be played in Europe at the end of the year. The tournament would include the Six Nations teams, along with Fiji and Japan.

He had picked a Japanese squad of about 50 players, including some new Japanese players and some players from overseas who had also qualified to play for Japan. The squad was set to go into camp in the southern Japanese city of Miyazaki.

He said the five year residency qualification for players to switch from one country to another, which was supposed to come in this year, has now been transferred to next year and the three year qualification would stand for this year.

That would help some New Zealand players move to the Japanese team and Joseph said they were working through the process.

Joseph, who was head coach of the Highlanders when they won their only title in 2015, said he had enjoyed getting back to the grass-roots part of the game. His son plays for the McGlashan second XV.

Southern had won over Green Island last week, helping it to stay in contention for the top six.

"I think it has been quite motivating for me, getting involved in a [club] rugby team. The thing I like about it is the players are playing the game for the right reasons. They work all day, train twice a week, and then come along and play their game on Saturday. To me that is something I really enjoy."

He was watching the Highlanders and had attended a couple of trainings, but would rather leave it to them as he still had his own work with Japan. There was plenty of planning and work to do with his coaching team and players.

He said Japan was looking to get to Europe near the end of October. The Six Nations competition was set to play its remaining games around that time and then move into the new eight team tournament.

But there was plenty of water to flow under the bridge for it to happen. Japan had recorded a spike in Covid-19 cases, but being based in the south of the country was away from hot spots.

"A lot of people are doing it tough. People have died, people are losing jobs, business have closed or are closing. So yeah, it has been frustrating for us, but at the end of the day it is only rugby."

 

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