Brave Blossoms and Wider Training Squad Assemble for First Training Camp

The 36-member Brave Blossoms squad, along with an additional National Team Wider Training Squad have assembled this week in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, just outside Tokyo for their first training squad of the year. The team is preparing for a massive year that includes a five match domestic series, a World Cup warm-up against Italy and finally, Rugby World Cup in France.

Having arrived in camp on June 12, the team will remain in Urayasu until June 30. They will then relocate to their training base in Miyazaki, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu between July 3 to August 3. From Miyazaki, matchday squads will travel to and from the four host cities, for a series combining two non-capped matches and three full test matches.

Commenting to the media as the squads assembled for the camp, Brave Blossoms Head Coach Jamie Joseph said:

“We’ve had a really good start to the camp. We did fitness tests yesterday and around 90 percent of the guys are at the level we want them to be. It shows they’ve turned up highly motivated and in good condition. We’ve got a couple of injuries with some players, but nothing too serious, and I’m confident these guys will be fit ahead of the Pacific Nations Cup.

“With the World Cup structure, to go ahead into the final rounds we have to make the top-eight, which is our first goal. Once we make top-eight, anything can happen. We’ve proven to the world, and certainly to our fans in Japan that we’re good enough, but we need to go another step. We’re not quite there yet, but we have time to prepare. From a training perspective, I’m comfortable and confident that by the end of the July series against the Pacific nations, that we would have had enough games and enough preparation to get where we need to be head of the World Cup.”

The Japan XV will face the All Blacks XV at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday, July 8 in the first of the two non-capped matches making up the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2023. This will be followed by a match between a full-strength Brave Blossoms side and the All Blacks XV on Saturday, July 15 at Egao Kenko Stadium in Kumamoto.

The Brave Blossoms will then play three test matches in the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2023 Pacific Nations Series, taking on Samoa on Saturday, July 22 at Sapporo Dome and Tonga on Saturday, July 29 at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka. They then return to Tokyo to play Fiji at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on Saturday, August 5.

“We’ve got just under 100 days to go before the World Cup, so this week is to reconnect as a team, start working on our strength and power and getting guys reconnected back to the way we do things as a team,” concluded Joseph.