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Asian Five Nations
Jones' Japan gunning for Asian glory
ESPNscrum Staff
March 19, 2012
Suntory Sungoliath head coach Eddie Jones celebrates victory in the Japan Rugby Championship Final, Suntory Sungoliath v Panasonic Wildknights, National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan, March 18, 2012
Eddie Jones celebrates victory in the All-Japan Final © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Eddie Jones
Teams: Japan

Japan will be gunning for a fifth Asian Five Nations title when the tournament gets underway at the end of April, with former Australia boss Eddie Jones now calling the shots.

Jones accepted the reins of the national side in December - following the departure of former All Black John Kirwan - and will begin building for the Rugby World Cup in 2015 against Kazakhstan on April 28.

Jones signed off from Japanese club rugby last weekend by guiding Suntory to a 21-9 victory over Panasonic Wild Knights in the All-Japan Final, securing a league and cup double in the process.

The 52-year-old will bring a young, home-grown squad forward for the tournament - where they will face a fast-improving Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Korea. Flanker Michael Leitch - a New Zealander - is the sole overseas-born player on Jones' 30-man panel.

"It's a very exciting squad, lots of good young players, and really good experienced players," Jones told AAP. "There's no distinction between foreign and Japanese players. It's about picking the best players who can play the sort of rugby that, we think, can get us into the top 10 in the world."

The side finishing bottom in Division One will be relegated, with Sri Lanka, Singapore, the Philippines and Chinede Taipei set to contest Division Two in 2012.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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