Rugby: NZ Rugby congratulates Jamie Joseph on re-signing with Japan

Japan coach Jamie Joseph, after his team's World Cup loss
Japan coach Jamie Joseph, after his team's Rugby World Cup loss. Photo credit: Photosport

Former All Black Jamie Joseph has re-signed to coach Japan for another four years, effectively ending his run at the open New Zealand job.

Joseph guided the home team to their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final last month, upsetting Ireland and Scotland in pool play, before losing to eventual champions South Africa in the knockout stage.

He was regarded as a candidate for the All Blacks head coaching role vacated by Steve Hansen after the tournament.

But the Japan Rugby Football Association has announced Joseph has agreed to return to their team until after the 2023 World Cup in France.

NZ Rugby has congratulated him on his decision to re-sign with the 'Brave Blossoms'.

Chairman Brent Impey says they respect his decision and his abilities as a coach. 

"We congratulate and wish Jamie well as he continues his work coaching the Brave Blossoms.

"The All Blacks head coach selection panel will continue their shortlisting process, with interviews and negotiations to be conducted through November and early December. We are looking forward to announcing the next Head Coach of the All Blacks next month." 

Japanese Rugby president Shigetaka Mori also praised Joseph's decision. 

"After being appointed as the head coach of the Japanese national team in 2016, I highly appreciate the skill that strengthened the Japanese national team to world level in just three years," said Mori.

"We hope to further strengthen the Japanese national team for the next four years. I am really looking forward to seeing how strong the Japanese national team will be at the Rugby World Cup 2023... and will trust and support Mr Joseph in order to improve his performance over this tournament."

As a player, Joseph represented both New Zealand (1995) and Japan (1999) at Rugby World Cup tournaments, before embarking on a coaching pathway that included the Māori All Blacks, Wellington, Highlanders and Sunwolves.

"We achieved the goal of the eighth best, but there are still more issues to be tackled," he said. "To that end, I chose the path to challenge (sic) with the Japanese national team again. 

"I have a great sense of expectation in Japan of rugby. Everyone of this year's team... showed the world what can be accomplished in a rugby competition by thinking together, working hard and working smartly."

While the Japan Rugby release did not mention assistant coach Tony Brown, the former All Blacks first-five has publicly committed to continuing to work with Joseph in the future, suggesting he will also return to his national team role.