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Preparation and attention to detail key to Japan's rugby success

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on October 16, 2019 - Duration: 03:56s

Preparation and attention to detail key to Japan's rugby success

== RESENDING WITH FULL SHOTLIST AND SCRIPT == VIDEO SHOWS: JAPAN PLAYERS TRAINING IN GYM / SOUNDBITES SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

JAPAN TEAM WORKING OUT IN GYM

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Preparation and attention to detail key to Japan's rugby success

== RESENDING WITH FULL SHOTLIST AND SCRIPT == VIDEO SHOWS: JAPAN PLAYERS TRAINING IN GYM / SOUNDBITES SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

JAPAN TEAM WORKING OUT IN GYM SESSION 2.

VARIOUS OF JAPAN CAPTAIN MICHAEL LEITCH WORKING OUT 3.

VARIOUS OF PLAYERS WORKING OUT 4.

LOCK WIMPIE VAN DER WALT WORKING OUT 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN SCRUM COACH, SHIN HASEGAWA, SAYING: "We make a firm strategy and a good scrum.

(Hooker Takuya) Kitade and (back row Yoshitaka) Tokunaga are contributing and help us build our scrummaging strategy.

(They make us realise) what we want to do and what sort of scrum we want to have.

When they are able to do this it gives us immense confidence.

When an opponent changes, our scrummaging changes and players change.

I don't think every player has ability to adapt all styles of scrummaging.

When we feel that we need to educate each player (on various way of scrummaging), non-team members help us and give us comfort." 6.

VARIOUS OF FLANKER PIETER LAGUSCHAGNE WORKING OUT 7.

VARIOUS OF PROP KEITA INAGAKI WORKING OUT 8.

HEAD COACH JAMIE JOSEPH WALKING PAST 9.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN SCRUM COACH, SHIN HASEGAWA, SAYING: "Each coach is different.

It is important for a coach to tell a player what he thinks but when I spoke to Jamie (Joseph), I was told that I am being too much of a perfectionist.

He told me to let the players decide and give them independence.

He taught me how players should spend a week to be able to correct themselves on the pitch.

He has not said anything during scrum training.

He taught me how better to communicate with players for last three years.

Players have become able to correct themselves." 10.

VARIOUS OF LOCK LUKE THOMPSON WORKING OUT 11.

LEITCH STRETCHING 12.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN HOOKER, ATSUSHI SAKATE, SAYING: "Our mental coach, Dave (David Galbraith), created it and he makes quizzes and writes them on the whiteboard.

It is part of the training focusing on how to use your brain under pressure and in tough situations.

It was started at our training in Abashiri.

You have to make decisions during the toughest time during the match.

You use your brain.

That is why it was put up when you have tough weight lifting training." 13.

HOOKER ATSUSHI SAKATE LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE STORY: Preparation and attention to detail have been key to Japan's success so far at the Rugby World Cup, with coach Jamie Joseph having the players in camp since January and stressing the need for different gameplans for each opponent.

This stretches as far as utilizing some of the more junior members of the squad, who may not appear on matchday but are central to Joseph's plans.

Before each match, the reserve players have been studying the tendencies and tactics of their opponents' scrum and then replicating that in practice, giving the starting pack ideal preparation.

It is this attention to detail that has seen Japan consistently challenge their much heavier opponents at scrum time during this tournament.

They will certainly need it against quarter-final opponents South Africa.

"(Hooker Takuya) Kitade and (back row Yoshitaka) Tokunaga are contributing and help us build our scrummaging strategy," said scrum coach Shin Hasegawa on Wednesday (October 16).

The reserve players are doing more than just making up the numbers, researching the opponents themselves and trying to mirror their nuances.

Since taking over in 2016, Joseph has also looked to make his players' more independent.

This has meant leaning on a leadership group containing the likes of captain Michael Leitch, flanker Pieter Labuschagne and flyhalf Yu Tamura.

Such is the importance Joseph places on this, he has employed David Galbraith as the team's mental coach.

Galbraith is constantly challenging his players in situations of stress to try and replicate the decisions they will have to make on the field.

It includes setting players a quiz during their daily weight session.

"He makes quizzes and writes them on the whiteboard," revealed hooker Atushi Sakate.

Japan know they will need all their wits about them coming up against the experience and brawn of two-time champions South Africa on Sunday but if they are to fail during their first ever World Cup knockout match, it certainly won't be from a lack of preparation.

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

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