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Japan's Joseph among nominees for World Rugby Coach of the Year

Eddie Jones, Rassie Erasmus, Warren Gatland, and Steve Hansen are also on the shortlist.

WORLD CUP FINALISTS Eddie Jones and Rassie Erasmus are among five nominees for the World Rugby Coach of the Year award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday.

The winner of Saturday’s World Cup decider will greatly boost their chances of scooping the honour, although Japan boss Jamie Joseph is also on the shortlist after guiding the Brave Blossoms into a first-ever World Cup quarter-final.

joe-schmidt-and-head-coach-jamie-joseph Joseph with Joe Schmidt, the 2018 Coach of the Year. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The five-man shortlist is completed by New Zealand’s Steve Hansen and Wales boss Warren Gatland, both of whom will step down from their roles after Friday night’s bronze final in Japan.

England’s Jones won this award in 2017 and has now led his team into the World Cup final thanks to a stunning semi-final win over New Zealand. Victory on Saturday could leave Jones in line to succeed 2018 Coach of the Year Joe Schmidt.

However, Erasmus has done a superb charge with the Boks since taking over less than two years ago, steering them into their first World Cup final since 2007 after winning the condensed Rugby Championship earlier this year.

Gatland has never won Coach of the Year but his achievement in coaching Wales to their third Grand Slam in his time in charge in 2019 shouldn’t be overlooked.

Hansen is a four-time Coach of the Year [2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016] but his team’s semi-final exit means he would be a surprise winner this time around.

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Joseph is the most intriguing candidate. Although Japan were knocked out by South Africa in the quarter-finals of their home World Cup, their shock pool-stage wins over Ireland and Scotland were superb, with the Brave Blossoms playing an exciting and skilful brand of rugby. Japan also won the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup this year.

Brian O’Driscoll and Clive Woodward are part of the panel that votes for Coach of the Year, alongside Maggie Alphonsi, Nick Mallett, and Agustín Pichot.

The same panel also votes for the World Rugby Team of the Year, which very much echoes the Coach of the Year nominees.

England, South Africa, New Zealand, Wales, and Japan are up for the Team of the Year award at the World Rugby awards ceremony on Sunday.

Previous World Rugby Coach of the Year Award winners:

2018 – Joe Schmidt (Ireland)
2017 – Eddie Jones (England)
2016 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2015 – Michael Cheika (Australia)
2014 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2013 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2012 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2011 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2010 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2009 – Declan Kidney (Ireland)
2008 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2007 – Jake White (South Africa)
2006 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2005 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2004 – Jake White (South Africa)
2003 – Clive Woodward (England)
2002 – Bernard Laporte (France)
2001 – Rod Macqueen (Australia)

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Tokyo

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