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Japan in running with heavyweights for World Rugby team award after tournament heroics

Michael Cheika is on the shortlist for the top coach award, meanwhile.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE BRAVE BLOSSOMS have been rewarded for their Rugby World Cup exploits with a Team of the Year nomination.

Japan — who pulled off an historic shock in beating the Springboks — are in the mix with tournament finalists Australia and New Zealand, as well as Argentina.

The Pumas reached the last four thanks to a comprehensive win over Ireland while South Africa have been snubbed despite reaching the semis.

Former Leinster coach Michael Cheika knows he’s in the running for the coach of the year prize as he prepares the Wallabies for the tournament decider.

His New Zealand counterpart Steve Hansen — a previous winner — is also in the mix along with Eddie Jones of Japan and Argentina’s Daniel Hourcad.

The winners are to be announced at the World Rugby Awards dinner at Battersea Evolution on 1 November.

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