Jamie Joseph, Head Coach of the Japanese rugby team, made time to speak with us about how he manages to bring the the team to higher and higher levels of success. As we approach the 2023 Rugby World Cup, it was great to hear Jamie’s insights into what makes a successful coach and player here.If you’ve ever wondered how he got to be where he is today, then this is the episode for you.
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Jamie was born in Blenheim with rugby in his blood from his father’s career in Marlborough rugby circles. Jamie debuted in rugby himself for Otago in 1989, playing mostly at lock.
He was called up for the New Zealand Māori squad for 10 matches through 1991 to 1994. During that time, he got his break and was promoted to the All Black trials in April 1992, and had his debut with the All Blacks in a World 15 side, playing his first test against Ireland in the same year.
Jamie has had a career of 20 test matches with the All Blacks including being part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
After that game, Jamie moved to Japan to kick off his international career here. Jamie played for the Fukuoka Sanix Blues for six years. Then he was selected to play in the Japan national team ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 1999 Jamie debuted in Tokyo in a match against Canada.
Fast forward to 2016 and where it was announced Jamie Joseph would be heading to Japan to take up the role of Head Coach for the Japan National Team and lead them to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Jamie led his first charge for the Japan national team in a home game against Argentina.
As coach of the Brave Blossoms, Jamie has posted three wins and a draw against Tier 1 nations and has had home tremendous wins at the 2019 Rugby World Cup over Ireland and Scotland which are clear highlights for his career and these were games that brought together a nation to become truly passionate about the game of rugby.
In terms of coaching, Jamie has been coach for Wellington to the playoffs in each of his three years in charge of the side in his first role as head coach. He then coached the Highlanders in Super Rugby for six seasons, leading the side to their first ever Super Rugby title in 2015. Joseph coached the Sunwolves in Japan, and back home, both the Māori All Blacks and Barbarians sides to winning records before taking the reins of Japan in 2016.
As the Brave Blossoms begin their final approach for the World Cup with two matches in July against an “All Blacks XV” we are super excited to hear about Jamie’s experiences in Japan so far, what’s top of mind for him as he focuses on preparing for RWC 2023, and all other things he likes and has experienced during his eight seasons in Japan.