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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ARAB TIMES, MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2011
    SPORTS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       43

                                                                          Retired try-machine Ohata backs team to start with a bang

Foreign imports boost Japan World Cup hopes
TOKYO, Aug 21, (AFP): An influx of          top teams in the world,” said captain
foreign-born players has propelled
Japan to unprecedented heights and
raised hopes they can bury their miser-
able World Cup record in New
                                            Takashi Kikutani.
                                               “Everybody understands our game
                                            play that works against the top teams.
                                            We created many chances for a try
                                                                                       Japan round off World Cup warm-ups with victory
                                                                                       TOKYO, Aug 21, (AFP): Asian cham-             One minute later the lead changed        the end of a five-pass move to add           maybe they were disappointed that
Zealand.                                    from a scrum... We proved that we can      pions Japan won their last warm-up          hands again, with the US conceding a       another try in the 66th minute.              they didn’t probably score more
   Coach John Kirwan has overseen a         play a Japanese style of rugby with a      game for the Rugby World Cup next           penalty for obstruction and Ryan             “It was a so-and-so game, but we           points.”
radical shift in policy with several        good tempo.”                               month when they defeated the United         Nicholas cashing in to put Japan 8-7 up.   won,” said Japan coach John Kirwan.             “But we defended very well particu-
players originating from Tonga and             Retired try-machine Daisuke Ohata       States 20-14 in a test match in Tokyo         Nonetheless it was the US who            “We defended very well. We couldn’t          larly in the second half. If we would
New Zealand now representing the                              backed Japan to start    on Sunday.                                  went in 14-8 ahead at half time after      play well in set-pieces in the first half,   have more time with the ball in the
Brave Blossoms — with dramatic                                with a bang against         Japanese full back Taihei Ueda           Swiryn seized on a Japanese error to       but we were able to level up in the          second half, maybe we could have
results on the pitch.                                         France in a tough        opened the scoring at the Prince            make a long solo run from midfield for     second half. We played fast, we kept         won the game, but we spent too much
                                                              Pool A, which also       Chichibu stadium early on when he           a converted try.                           the ball.”                                   time without the ball,” he added.
                                                              includes favourites      went over in the right corner in the          But those were the Americans’ last         Kikutani added: “It was a game that           In the World Cup, Japan will play
               RUGBY                                          New Zealand as well      sixth minute.                               points. In the second half, Japan          we couldn’t play well in set-pieces          two-time finalists France, hosts and
                                                                                          But moments after a missed con-          mounted a series of mauls close to         and we made mistakes to give them            1987 winners New Zealand, Tonga
                                                              as Tonga and Canada.     version the Americans went in front 7-      the US line until skipper Takashi          chances for a try. That’s all. I think we    and Canada in Pool A, while the
   Since the last World Cup in 2007,                             “It is the bottom     5, winger Kevin Swiryn snatching the        Kikutani touched down in the 54th          refreshed ourselves at half time.”           United States will play two-time
Japan have won all four editions of the                       line to get past the     ball off a kick and crossing the            minute and substitute stand-off Shaun        Meanwhile, US coach Eddie                  champions        Australia,    former
Asian Five Nations and are yet to lose                        preliminary round,”      Japanese tryline, with stand-off Nese       Webb converted.                            O’Sullivan said: “It was a good, tough       O’Sullivan-coached Ireland, Italy and
a game. In July, they secured their first        Kirwan       Ohata said.              Malifa converting.                            Winger Takehisa Usuzuki was at           game. I think Japan played very well,        Russia in Pool C.
ever Pacific Nations Cup title with a          “The opening match against France
dramatic victory over Fiji.                 will be a decisive factor to do so. They
   And this month, they confirmed their     have a Latin temperament and lack          non-ethnic Japanese, some of whom           cally Japanese. Others have played for     than 100 percent. Rugby is a world           League side NEC. Kirwan coached
rising status by running Six Nations        consistency. Japan will have a chance if   qualify for selection because they          three years in Japan and under IRB         sport, we accept everyone. It’s not          Italy from 2002 to 2005, guiding the
outfit Italy close 31-24 in Cesena.         they can defend patiently to make them     have played in the country for three        rules can play for the country.            political.”                                  Azzurri to the 2003 World Cup in
   The performances have boosted opti-      irritated,” he added.                      years.                                        “I’ve always said we must use for-         Coach                                      Australia. He signed as Japan’s coach
mism that Japan, who will host Asia’s          Ex-All Black Kirwan is targeting at       “We have nine foreign players. The        eigners to improve our results and then      John Kirwan                                in January 2007. The All Blacks leg-
first World Cup in 2019, can add to         least two victories in New Zealand as      Tongans      (Sione     Vatuvei      and    when we arrive towards 2019, the             The 46-year-old, who helped New            end helped Japan put an end to a 13-
their sole win in the tournament after      he builds towards his aim of making        Ryukoliniasi Holani) and (New               Federation needs to work very hard to      Zealand win the inaugural World Cup          match losing streak at the 2007 World
their 52-8 success against lowly            Japan a top-eight team by 2015, and        Zealander) Leitchy (Michael Leitch)         always get more Japanese players in        in 1987 as a fleet-footed winger and         Cup with a draw against Canada.
Zimbabwe in 1991.                           reaching the World Cup final on home       went there at nine (years old) to study,”   the team.                                  scored 67 tries in 63 Test matches,          Japan still have only one win, one
   “We confirmed through the match          ground in 2019.                            Kirwan said this month.                       “But those who play for Japan are        ended his playing career in 2001 after       draw and 18 defeats from their previ-
against Fiji that we can cope with the         He is unrepentant over his choice of      “They have passports and are practi-      very proud to do so and will give more     three seasons with Japan’s Top               ous six tournaments.

                                                                                                                                   All Blacks ‘stung’ by
                                                                                                                                   gaping hole in legacy
                                                                                                                                                             New Zealand seek to end W. Cup jinx
                                                                                                                                   Aug 21, (AFP): A
                                                                                                                                   date etched in the
                                                                                                                                   minds of the All
                                                                                                                                   Blacks as a day they
                                                                                                                                   again failed in a
                                                                                                                                   World Cup cam-
                                                                                                                                   paign and began
                                                                                                                                   another quest to
                                                                                                                                   unite their top world
                                                                                                                                   ranking with rugby’s
                                                                                                                                   holy grail.
                                                                                                                                     The side consistantly
                                                                                                                                   ranked number one in the
                                                                                                                                   world has a well-docu-
                                                                                                                                   mented history of World
                                                                                                                                   Cup collapses which has
                                                                                                                                   earned them the tag of
                                                                                                                                   chokers on the big stage.
                                                                                                                                      But this time, 24 years
                                                                                                                                   after their only taste of
                                                                                                                                   World Cup success, coach
                                                                                                                                   Graham Henry and his
                                                                                                                                   squad have a steely resolve
                                                                                                                                   to prove their critics wrong.
                                                                                                                                      “Winning a Rugby World
                                                                                                                                   Cup is not part of our legacy
                                                                                                                                   and that hurts,” he said in a
                                                                                                                                   recent interview, reviewing
                                                                                                                                   the history of a side with a
                                                                                                                                   75 percent winning average
                                                                                                                                   since 1903 and has been the
                                                                                                                                   world Team of the Year four
                                                                                                                                   times in the past six years.
                                                                                                                                      The swagger the All
                                                                                                                                   Blacks took into past World
                                                                                                                                   Cup campaigns has gone as
                                                                                                                                   the pain of the 20-18 loss to    New Zealand’s Isaia Toeava (center), runs against South Africans JP Pietersen (left), and
                                                                                                                                   France in the 2007 quarter-      Jaque Fourie during the Tri Nations Rugby Union Test match between South Africa and
                                                                                                                                   finals remains as a constant       New Zealand at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Aug 20. (AFP)
                                                                                                                                   reminder that nothing can be
                                                                                                                                   taken for granted.
                                                                                                                                      Henry has assembled a
                                                                                                                                   vastly experienced squad —
                                                                                                                                   many of whom have been
                                                                                                                                   through two failed World
                                                                                                                                                                    Ireland refuse to panic
                                                                                                                                                                    DUBLIN, Aug 21, (AFP): Brian O’Driscoll              The hosts outperformed England in
                                                                                                                                             RUGBY                  says there are no ‘panic buttons’ being           every aspect of the game that day to record
                                                                                                                                                                    pressed after Ireland lost 26-22 to France        a 24-8 victory and a similarly impressive
                                                                                                                                                                    on Saturday, their third World Cup warm-up        showing will be required next week if
                                                                                                                                   Cup ventures — and learn-        defeat in a row.                                  Ireland are to travel to New Zealand with
Japan national rugby team’s Tomoki Yoshida (front), is taken down by US national team’s Tai Enosa during a pre-World               ing from the past has               Marc Lievremont’s men overcame a slow          any confidence.
                        Cup rugby match in Tokyo, Aug 21. Japan won the match 20-14. (AP)                                          become the theme of the All      start that saw them trail by eight points            However, full back Felix Jones, making
                                                                                                                                   Blacks build up this time.       inside ten minutes, but scored 26 unan-           his first start for Ireland, presents more of a
                                                                                                                                      In particular, Henry          swered points to lead 26-8 on the 50              concern for the Ireland coach after he fell
                                                                                                                                                                    minute mark.                                      awkwardly on his ankle in the second half.
                      Barcella and Servat included despite fitness issues                                                          knows his 2007 ploy of rest-        Jonathan Sexton and Sean O’Brien each             “Felix had an x-ray and there was no
                                                                                                                                   ing key players so they          touched down inside the last five minutes         broken bone, but he will need a scan,” said
                                                                                                                                   would be fit for the final is    to put a respectable gloss on the scoreline       Kidney.

France axe Marconnet and Domingo                                                                                                   irrelevant if the team is
                                                                                                                                   knocked out before making
                                                                                                                                   the final.
                                                                                                                                                                    for the hosts, but the defeat will give coach
                                                                                                                                                                    Declan Kidney a headache as he prepares
                                                                                                                                                                    to name his 30-man squad for the World
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “It’s only after that we will be able to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      assess it (his availability for New Zealand).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There’s no bone broken so it’s a check for
                                                                                                                                      His controversial rest and    Cup on Monday.                                    ligament damage.”
DUBLIN, Aug 21, (RTRS): Props               announce it to the group in his pres-      warm-up win against Ireland on              rotation policy of previous         On this performance, some players may             Jones’ selection will be in doubt until
Sylvain Marconnet and Thomas                ence. I have always said the best          Aug 13 but will be fit for the tour-        years has gone although half     have played themselves out of selection,          the result of that scan is known, but
Domingo were omitted on Sunday              two props in France were Thomas            nament.                                                                      but O’Driscoll was reluctant to read too          Kidney is hoping for some positive news
                                                                                                                                   of the first choice side was     much into the defeat.                             on the injury front from Tommy Bowe this
from France’s 30-man squad for the          and Fabien. I said I hoped to keep           The World Cup takes place from            kept out of the second Tri-         England visit Dublin next Saturday for         week.
rugby World Cup next month as ruth-         one and that is the decision I have        Sept 9-Oct. 23 with France, who             Nations Test against South       Ireland’s final warm-up test and the Irish           The Ospreys winger is key to any Irish
less coach Marc Lievremont ignored          made.                                      have never won the trophy despite           Africa with Henry arguing it     will hope to build some much needed               hopes in New Zealand, but he has yet to
sentiment and took a slight risk with         “I have also been surprised by the       their famous flair, in Pool A with          was necessary to run an eye      momentum against Martin Johnson’s side -          feature for Ireland this season.
players’ fitness.                           progress of Jean-Baptiste Poux and         Japan, Canada, the All Blacks and           over the balance of his Cup      as they did in the final Six Nations game            “Tommy joined in with us this week but
  Lievremont,        making       the       Luc Ducalcon.”                             Tonga.                                      squad.                           last March.                                       we didn’t think he was ready for this week-
announcement in Dublin following              Barcella ruptured his Achilles             The deadline for final squads to be          In their previous match          Ireland were rounding off an under-            end,” said Kidney. “He’ll hopefully be put-
                                                                                                                                                                    whelming tournament when Johnson’s                ting himself forward for selection next
Saturday’s final warm-up win over           tendon in August last year and             announced is Monday.                        against Australia, they          Grand Slam chasing side visited Dublin.           week.”
Ireland, had been widely expected to        although he featured in Saturday’s           Squad:                                    showed their depth of expe-
leave Fabien Barcella at home given         26-22 win he looked slightly off the         Forwards: Fabien Barcella, Julien         rience by fielding a side
his lack of match sharpness but has         pace.                                      Bonnaire, Luc Ducalcon, Thierry             with a world record 750          about having the psycholog-      Africa in 1995.                     In the Tri-Nations Tests,
instead      dropped    experienced                                                    Dusautoir     (captain),     Imanol         caps and an                      ical advantage, but there are       Henry now sees a chance        the build-up to the World
Marconnet.                                                                             Harinordoquy, Guilhem Guirado,              average age                      far too many occasions in        to atone for past disappoint-     Cup, the All Blacks backed
  The 35-year-old Marconnet has                            RUGBY                       Nicolas Mas, Romain Millo-Chluski,          of nearly 29                     the past when that hasn’t        ments and admits to still         up their natural fast-paced
84 caps but missed the last World                                                      Raphael Lakafia, Lionel Nallet,             —        older                   amounted to a result in the      being haunted by the loss to      game with a dogged defence
Cup on home turf after a skiing               Guilhem Guirado, only drafted            Fulgence Ouedraogo, Pascal Pape,            than the age-                    Rugby World Cup,” Henry          France four years ago.            which Wallabies’ coach
accident and now the trip to New            into the squad as cover for injured        Louis Picamoles, Julien Pierre, Jean-       ing England                      said of the win.                    “Obviously it hurt, and        Robbie Deans singled out as
                                                                                                                                   unit      who                       “If we get complacent         still hurts,” he said.            “important come World Cup
Zealand along with Domingo, who             hooker William Servat, keeps his           Baptiste Poux, William Servat,              won        the                   about this victory it will be       Since then the All Blacks      time”.
has been struggling with a knee             place along with Servat.                   Dimitri Szarzewski.                         2003 World                       curtains (at the World Cup)      have racked up Grand Slam           Of the current All Blacks
problem.                                      Winger Yoann Huget was                     Backs: Vincent Clerc, Patrice             Cup.               Henry         I’d say.”                        success in the northern           squad, captain Richie
  “Sylvain is the last player I             dropped from the initial 33-man            Estebanez, Cedric Heymans, David               They comfortably beat            After winning the inaugu-     hemisphere and Tri-Nations        McCaw along with Dan
played with at club level and also          preliminary squad earlier this             Marty, Maxime Medard, Maxime                the second ranked side in        ral World Cup, hosted by         titles in the south while         Carter, Mils Muliaina, Ma’a
in the France team, it’s been a dif-        month for breaching anti-doping            Mermoz, Alexis Palisson, Morgan             the world 30-14 but Henry        New Zealand in 1987, the         mindful that in 2007 the          Nonu, Keven Mealamu,
ficult choice,” Lievremont told             regulations.                               Parra, Aurelien Rougerie, David             refused to see the perform-      All Blacks have only made        Springboks were last in the       Brad Thorn and Ali
reporters.                                    Centre Maxime Mermoz suf-                Skrela, Damien Traille, Francois            ance as a World Cup omen.        the finals once since, beaten    Tri-Nations but won the           Williams first tasted World
  “Sylvain asked me not to                  fered a knee problem in the first          Trinh-Duc, Dimitri Yachvili.                   “It’s a good story isn’t it   in extra-time by South           World Cup.                        Cup pressure in 2003.

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