Eddie Jones returns to Japan role after stroke

Last updated 03:21 30/11/2013
Eddie Jones
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BACK INTO IT: Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones has returned to work after suffering a stroke on October 15 and spending weeks in hospital.

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Just a month after suffering a stroke, Japan rugby coach Eddie Jones is already back at work and plotting the 'Brave Blossoms' path to break into the world's top 10.

Speaking at the Japan Rugby Football Union headquarters on Friday, Jones praised 14th-ranked Japan's performance against Scotland earlier this month but said they had failed to show their true potential against New Zealand.

"I don't want to criticise, but we simply didn't play our rugby against New Zealand," said Jones, who was released from hospital last Saturday. "We had two turnovers early on and kicked it straight back to them.

"We can't beat a good side playing orthodox rugby. We need to play a Japan style that is possession based."

Scott Wisemantel took charge of the team after Jones was hospitalised on Oct. 15 and diagnosed with a minor stroke after complaining of a severe headache.

Australian Wisemantel oversaw a 54-6 rout by the All Blacks in Tokyo and a 42-17 defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.

"We've beaten all the teams behind us (in the world rankings). Now we have to start beating those above us, such as Italy, Fiji and Tonga," the 53-year-old said.

"We were good for 50 minutes against Scotland but we need to turn that into 80 if we are to beat sides like that.

"Next year, we are going to put a real emphasis on getting even fitter and stronger, as we need to get faster in the way we play the game. We've got two years to go to get into the Top 10 in the world."

In terms of his own fitness, Jones said simply being able to touch his toes was a sign of progress after the stroke.

"I am at about 98 percent now," he said. "I can stretch and touch my toes - which I couldn't do before."

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- Reuters

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