Kirwan reliant on impact

Japan coach John Kirwan has indicated that he was looking to his bench to make an impact when the World Cup minnows met with Canada in Bordeaux on Tuesday.

The New Zealand-born coach said the clash against Canada would be a physical encounter and that he expected his bench to play a significant role in Japan’s final Pool match of the tournament – a match in which he hopes to record his first win of the 2007 tournament.

“We have picked a bench we feel can come in and make an impact,” Kirwan told the Rugby News Service.

Kirwan admitted on Monday that beating Canada would be a formidable task indeed.

“They will be a tough, uncompromising team,” said Kirwan.

The game will be just as crucial for the Canadians who have opted for more speed in their back-row in an attempt to counter Japan. Kirwan viewed this as a sign that Canada regarded Japan as a threat.

“I am pleased they are worried about us,” added Kirwan, who firmly believed that Japan had a very good chance of winning.

The one concern for Kirwan was the fitness of his points machine Shotaro Onishi, who was still battling a rib injury when the team was announced on Sunday.

Kicking could well determine the final result because of the probable physical battle up front.

“He is an important part of our team and he is feeling pretty confident. He will have another fitness test [on Monday].”

Kirwan concluded that if his team were to emerge victors on the day, it would be a result of sound execution.

“We know what we have to do. We need to execute well and that is important. It is important that we execute. I think we have to finish what we start,” said the All Black legend.

He added that if his team didn’t exploit their opportunities they would surely go fly back to Japan empty handed.

“Execute or be executed,” he said.


365 Digital

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