How Japan's creative attack 'shocked the world'

Jun 25, 2021

The British and Irish Lions expect Japan to provide a thorough defensive examination on Saturday at Murrayfield as they begin their summer against a nation that has “shocked the rugby world” in recent years.

Ahead of their tour of South Africa and what promises to be a ferocious Test series against the Springboks, the Lions could not have hand-picked a more contrasting assignment.

Coached by Jamie Joseph and former New Zealand fly-half Tony Brown, one of sport’s more inventive thinkers, Japan will be expected to maintain possession and impart the intricate, fast-paced phase-play that has helped them overturn South Africa, Ireland and Scotland at the last two Rugby World Cups.

2020 10 13 Michael Scotland

At blindside flanker, though, superb skipper Michael Leitch remains. Iain Henderson recalls him “causing a lot of problems” for Ireland.

As he did at Twickenham in 2018, to devastating effect, Leitch will likely hold width close to the touchlines.

Daily Telegraph