Japan forced to move Asian 5 Nations clashes
April 15, 2011
Japan will play all four of their games in this year's Asian Five Nations away from home because of the devastating fallout from the earthquake and tsunami which devastated the country last month.
John Kirwan's side had been originally scheduled to travel to Hong Kong, Thailand, to face Kazakhstan, and then on to Dubai to tackle the United Arab Emirates before returning home for a clash with Sri Lanka. However, that final fixture, which will take place on May 21, has now been moved to Colombo.
Kirwan has already named a provisional panel of 40 players for this year's World Cup and the players assembled in Miyazaki on Kyushu Island for a training camp on April 1. The New Zealander admitted that he had considered cancelling the camp given that two of his squad members, Kensuke Hatakeyama and Shinya Makabe, had been badly affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
"Their family was in the bad zone and they lost everything," Kirwan said. "We had doubts over starting our camp, but the two players concerned said they would like to go ahead and said we needed to remain positive."
Consequently, Kirwan and his troops are now just trying to concentrate as best they can on their preparations for the Asian 5 Nations.
"This will be our lead-up to the World Cup and it is important to get everything in place as early as possible," he said. "We are bringing our best team to the Asian Five Nations and I want to see some of the things we want to do as a team functioning smoothly."
2011 ASIAN 5 NATIONS
April 23: Sri Lanka v UAE, Colombo, 16:00
April 29: UAE v Kazakhstan, Abu Dhabi, 19:00
May 7: Kazakhstan v Japan, Bangkok, 19:00
May 13: UAE v Japan, Dubai, 20:00
May 21: Japan v Sri Lanka, Colombo, 16:00
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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