TOKYO (JUN 04) – Japan to play Super 14 Queensland Reds as warmup for IRB Pacific Nations Cup
Japan flew out to Australia on Wednesday to hold a 10-day training camp ahead of the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup.
The camp culminates with a game against Queensland Reds on June 10 at Brisbane’s famous Ballymore ground.
“We needed a game outside of Japan because of IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009,” said Japan coach John Kirwan.
“We normally play the Classic All Blacks as leading up to Pacific Nations Cup we need to get tested defensively.”
Queensland Reds coach Phil Mooney, meanwhile, named 18 contracted Reds players in an extended 27-man squad for match.
The Reds lineup is a mix of Reds, academy and club players not involved with the Wallabies or Australia’s Under 20 campaign.
“We’ve got an exciting blend of contracted players and club players,” Mooney said in a press release.
“In the forwards we’ve got most of our contracted forwards available and in the backs, due to injuries and Wallaby selection, we’ve been able to select a few club players.”
Mooney said the match was the perfect opportunity for some of the younger players to gain experience in a professional environment.
“This is an opportunity to play against an international team and it is a great honour for us,” he said.
“These days you don’t get to play against international opposition that often and even on development tours you generally play against other provincial sides.”
Kirwan is hoping the game will bridge the gap between the recent Asian Five Nations and the more physically demanding Pacific tournament.
“Both sides are young teams facing each other. Leading up to Rugby World Cup 2011, this is the sort of interaction we need,” he said.
“This is different from the team we fielded against Singapore. There were different parameters and different combinations then.
“It is a very important year for us making sure we get some of these young guys out there and tough it out like they did against America in November.”