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Japan to ask Joseph to stay on as rugby coach

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Tokyo (AFP)

Japan's Rugby Football Union will seek to keep Jamie Joseph as coach after he took the Brave Blossoms to a historic World Cup quarter-final at home, its president said Thursday.

"The selection committee has decided to ask him to serve as the head coach in light of results of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan," JRFU President Shigetaka Mori said in a short statement.

"We will enter into more concrete negotiations going forward," Mori said.

Kiwi Joseph oversaw a campaign by Japan that exceeded all expectations and lit up the World Cup -- the first one held in Asia and outside the traditional rugby heartlands.

Japan beat Ireland 19-12 and Scotland 28-21 to top their pool and lift their world ranking to an all-time high of sixth.

They eventually met their match in the quarter-finals against South Africa, who produced a bruising defensive effort combined with dominance at the set-piece to run out 26-3 winners.

But their brave performances have captured the hearts of fans across the nation and raised the profile of rugby in a baseball-mad country.

World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont said that their style of rugby had made the rest of the world "sit up and take notice" and that they deserved to be counted at the top table of the global game.

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