Japan Rugby League: The Interview

By Daniel Andruczyk

At the international 9s Rugby League International Scores’ own Daniel Andruczyk was able to get a few words with the leaders of Japanese Rugby League about their campaign and the state of the game in Japan. Elsewhere the next international test at the U18s level was played and results from Lebanon, the Challenge Cup, the Northern Rail Cup and the rumour mill is back.

Japan Rugby League Interview

At the Cabramatta 9s I managed to get a few minutes with some of the Japanese Rugby League players and administration. The following is a transcript of the interview. First up is Kaoru Nakashima:

  • RLIS: Kaoru, congratulation, this is the second or third trip that Japan has made to Australia and the second time at the International 9s. How did you find the tournament this year?
  • KN: We feel that our attacking has improved than in past years but our defence was very bad
  • RLIS: Right, however a lot of people noticed that you have scored a lot more try’s this year than last year. A lot of people mentioned it was great to see Japan come out, to see an international team come out from Japan.
  • KN: Thank you very much. We could have had a better squad but just 2 weeks before two players were injured at training and another player found out his operation was no good and had to have another operation. So we’ve missed 3 main players, but we are happy to come back again and I hope we can come back next year
  • RLIS: In terms of plans for Japanese Rugby League this year and the future, you do have some domestic activity and also there has been some talk about the Atlantic Nations Cup maybe bringing in Japan and South Africa in with the United States and Jamaica to play. What are your thoughts on that?
  • KN: I’d say in 2010, this year, our goal is to establish the domestic competition much better than what it is now. Last year we started a new competition called the Japan-ANZAC series. This is a game between the Tokyo XIII Warriors, this is a local team the only Rugby League team in Japan, against the Japan ANZACS made up of Australians and New Zealanders living Japan. That game we started last year and was really successful. Last year we had 3 games but we plan to have more against the Japan ANZACs. That was one of the best games in the domestic com. So we concentrate to get more players and more games. Also about the Atlantic Cup, as I mentioned before we are concentrating on the domestic comp, so now we are negotiating with the U.S. to come to Japan. For us its easier to get more players if we have an international match in Japan
  • RLIS: I hope that works out. Kaoru thanks for a bit of your time, I know you are tired. Congratulations once again and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Australia and I look forward to a bright future in Japan.
  • KN: Thank you very much. I hope we can come to Australia more often and maybe we can establish a better competition in Japan and a better national team and hope one day we can be in one of the finals of the tournament.
  • RLIS: Hopefully that will happen soon.
  • KN: Thank you.

I also managed to get a few words in with President of JRL Amane Konishi and Head Coach Noriyuki Tainaka.

  • RLIS: Amane and Nori, congratulations on coming out here and providing nice entertainment and attacking flair. Everyone were impressed with what they saw, you played with a lot of heart. How do you feel the tournament was for you this year?
  • NT: We wnated to win, but can’t win in this tournament, so Its a pitty for us.
  • AK: We know this competition is very hard, a high level for us. But we have had a good experience but we wanted to win at least one game. But next time maybe we win one.
  • RLIS: I hope that happens next time. I think its good that you get several matches, four matches, through the day. It gives you that extra experience. What are your plans for the future, for this year and next. What do you want to do with Japanese Rugby League?
  • NT: This year we have domestic games, Tokyo XIII warriors against Japan Anzacs from March to April. After that till November we have an International game as well as a Young versus Old and East versus west game.
  • RLIS: Who is the International Against?
  • NT: We are looking for a team. Maybe a team to come to Japan.
  • RLIS: Thank you for your time.

S5001332(R to L) Noriyuki Tainaka, Daniel Andruczyk and Amane Konishi

GB smashed by France

France have shown once again that they have the juniors coming up through the ranks and one day will challenge the big three for dominance once again. In what can be only describes as an annihilation on the scale of the Battle of Kursk, the France Juniors decimated the GB community Lions in Blackwood on Wednesday. in a 8 try route the French Kids won 40 to nothing! Lets hope this does indeed translate through to the national squad in the future.

Lebanon Bank of Beirut Championships

Three matches were played over the weekend with all three going pretty much to script. LAU defeated AUB 44-4, The Wolves beat AUST 34-6 and Jounieh and USJ fought out a close match with Jounieh coming out on top 28-20. The table standings are:

Team P W D L PD Pt
1. LAU 6 6 0 0 344 12
2. Jounieh 5 4 0 1 18 8
3. Balamand 6 3 0 3 30 6
4. AUB 6 3 0 3 -17 6
5. Wolves 7 3 0 4 -55 6
6. USJ 5 2 0 3 -66 4
7. AUST 7 0 0 7 -216 0

Challenge Cup Results and Draw

Challenge Cup results have come in from last weekend: British Police 18 lost to Leeds Metropolitan University 50, Warrington Wizards 28 beat British Army 20, Edinburgh Eagles 16 lost to Blackwood Bulldogs 28, Royal Navy 46 beat Nottingham Outlaws 6, Wigan St Judes 38 beat Milford Marlins 18, Rochdale Mayfield 18 lost to Leigh East 34, Castleford Panthers 0 lost to Thatto Heath 32, Ovenden 32 beat Myton Warriors 16, Wath Brow Hornets 16 beat East Hull 14, Siddal 34 beat Oulton Raiders 30, Drighlington 24 beat Castleford Lock Lane 18, Normanton Knights 8 lost to Hunslet Warriors 14, Hull Dockers 8 lost to Leigh Miners 28.

Last Tuesday the Round 3 draw was made and will be played on the weekend of 6-7 March. The Match ups are: Widnes Vikings V Wigan St Judes, Oldham V Blackwood Bulldogs, Gateshead Thunder V York City Knights, London Skolars V Limoux, Doncaster V Siddal, Rochdale Hornets V Lezignan, Drighlington V Dewsbury Rams, Batley V Leeds Met, Royal Navy V Blackpool, Featherstone V Workington, Warrington Wizzards V Swinton, Leigh Miners Rangers V Whitehaven, Sheffield Eagles V Thatto Heath, Ovenden V Halifax, Barrow V Hunslet Warriors, keighley Cougars V Toulouse Olympique XIII, Leigh East V Hunslet Hawks, Leigh Centurions V Wath Brow.

Northern Rail Cup

Four more matches in the NRC were played on Wednesday as well. Doncaster copped a hiding to last years finalists Barrow Raiders 60 – 00. Rochdale went down to York 36 – 12 and Sheffield went 13 – 6 in a close one with Halifax. Cumbrian side Workington played an absolute thriller against Swinton losing 18-19. Table stands as:

Team (Group 1) P W D L PD Pt
01. Keighley 3 3 0 0 31 9
02. Barrow 3 2 0 1 84 8
03. Widnes 3 2 1 0 46 8
04. Batley 3 2 1 0 44 8
05. Swinton 3 2 0 1 -25 6
06. Whitehaven 3 1 0 2 35 5
07. Blackpool 3 1 0 2 40 4
08. Workington 3 1 0 2 -15 3
09. Doncaster 3 0 0 3 -144 1
10. Gateshead 3 0 0 3 -126 0
Team (Group 2) P W D L PD Pt
01. Sheffield 3 2 1 0 37 8
02. Leigh 3 2 0 1 41 7
03. Halifax 3 2 0 1 85 6
04. Hunslet 2 2 0 0 62 6
05. Dewsbury 3 2 0 1 58 6
06. York 3 2 0 1 -5 6
07. Oldham 3 1 0 2 -18 4
08. Featherstone 2 0 1 1 -30 2
09. Rochdale 3 0 0 3 -68 1
10. London 3 0 0 3 -162 0

Rumour Mill

Next week the RLIF sits down to discuss a few matters, the 2013 World Cup, the structure of the European tournaments and just what the hell is going on in Russia! With the later, RLIF development officer Tas Baitieri will be heading to Russia to meet with officials and assess the situation. I am sure that we all are interested to see the results of that.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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13 Responses to “Japan Rugby League: The Interview”

  1. sportsmad says:

    any idea what day the rlif meeting is?

    • druzik says:

      I have some idea and am writing a few articles for Rugby League Review for the March edition. Once that gets sent out I will write a blog or two on it.

      Its one of the meetings they have twice a year and I think it probably looking at the Russian Situation as I know Tas is going there.

      Probably starting to look at what to do with the end of year International as well.

  2. Great interview with the Japanese RL, sound like they have some good plans.

    • druzik says:

      Yes, I think they want to first lay the domestic foundation. They will have some internationals but its domestically they will concentrate on… both will have to feed each other I guess.

  3. Amane KONISHI, Japanese Rugby League says:

    AK and NT in our interview are reversed.

  4. GCCowboy says:

    I floated an idea on the WofRL forum about playing an NRL match in Japan.
    Getting the “Jetstar” Gold Coast Titans to play someone like Souths (get Russel involved, flogging cute Rabbitoh merchandise) in Japan for an NRL round fixture.
    I am sure that the Govt would back the venture from the tourism point of view and the sponsor would be on board.
    Plus it would be in a timezone that could still get broadcast live to Australia.
    I’m sure it would be a successful venture, not sure if the JRL has looked at this as an option to boost popularity of the sport over there

  5. Jon says:

    14 teams for 2013 World Cup. Any thoughts on who might take part Dan?
    Heard quite a few people mention Russia (are they still playing the game?) and the USA, but I think those two might miss out.
    The 10 from 2008, Wales, Lebanon and…?

    • druzik says:

      Yes, we have been sitt8ing of this for a couple weeks now… I am writing an article in Rugby League review about it.

      But basically its the 10 2008 teams to go through Automatically, with Wales and Cook Islands to get two spots and the other two coming in from two tournaments with 8 nations.

  6. C.T.SANDERS says:

    WE NEED TO GET AN NRL FRANCHISE IN JAPAN BEFORE THE DECADE IS OUT AND BEAT RUGBY TO THE PUNCH AND OF COURSE OUR BELOVED ADMINISTRATORS WON’T HAVE A BAR OF IT BECAUSE THEY HAVE THEIR HEADS BURIED IN THE SAND

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    ONE DAY IT WILL HAPPEN DANIEL??PEOPLE TOLD ME 35 YEARS AGO THAT RUGBY LEAGUE WILL STILL BE PLAYED IN 4 COUNTRIES WELL INTO THE 21st CENTURY.NOW WE GOT OVER 50 COUNTRIES.THE TROUBLE IS THAT THE ADMINISTRATORS,THE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOWED THE NRL AND SL DON’T WANT A GLOBAL GAME.YOU AND I ARE THE ODD ONES OUT YET I HATE BOTH THE NRL AND SL.I HATE THOSE COMPETITIONS WITH A PASSION.THE ONLY THING I AM INTERESTED IN IS GLOBILISATION,THE KIWIS AND TOURS,TOURS AND TOURS.

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