Watch England vs Japan on Sky Sports Action at 2.30pm Saturday
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 16/11/18 3:44pm
Scrum coach Neal Hatley says Japan will “prove a point to world rugby” when they face England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Hatley, part of Eddie Jones’ backroom staff since 2016, recently spent time in Japan with Suntory Sungoliath and was blown away by how hard the Japanese players trained.
Jones said on Monday that Japan, the only tier-two international team in Asia, should “go to the temple and pray” as his team prepare to “smash” them.
England vs Japan
November 17, 2018, 2:30pm
However, Hatley insists the England camp are full of respect for their Saturday opponents, who scored 31 points against New Zealand earlier this month in a 31-69 defeat to the world champions.
“I’ll think they’ll be ready to play unbelievably hard to prove a point to world rugby and that is that they’re ready to compete in tier one,” he said.
“They’ve put in some really good performances and this is the next step in their journey, so we’re expecting a tough game.
“Scoring 31 points against the All Blacks, against any international side, is a hell of an achievement.
“I was lucky enough to spend two and a half weeks at Suntory [Sungoliath] rugby club about two months ago. I know a few of the players.
“I was unbelievably impressed with the attitude of the players, how hard they worked. Very impressed with how hard they trained.”
England boss Jones oversaw Japan’s most successful World Cup in 2015, with the famous upset of the Springboks paving the way for his appointment at Twickenham, upon Stuart Lancaster’s removal.
“Eddie said in the week they’ve improved massively and believes that since the World Cup they have got better again,” Hatley added.
“There’s obviously a very healthy respect for the Japanese players.”
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