Japan's Joseph out of NZ rugby contention

Daniel Gilhooly
Jamie Joseph has signed a new four-year deal as Japan coach, ruling him out of All Blacks contention

Jamie Joseph has extended his contract as Japanese coach to the next Rugby World Cup and is demanding even better from a side who had exceeded expectations as hosts of this year's tournament.

A statement from the Japan Rugby Football Union confirmed New Zealander Joseph would be retained as head coach after signing a four-year deal through to the end of the 2023 global showpiece in France.

The move ends speculation of former All Blacks flanker Joseph being a frontrunner to become New Zealand's head coach next year, replacing the long-serving Steve Hansen.

Joseph, 49, is likely to retain compatriot Tony Brown as his assistant coach.

The pair steered Japan on a memorable run last month to a maiden World Cup quarter-finals appearance, upsetting Ireland and Scotland. Their fast-paced brand had attracted enthusiastic support from a host nation where rugby struggles for mainstream cut-through.

Joseph said his goal was to take the Brave Blossoms to a new level over the next four years.

"We achieved the goal of being among the top eight countries in the World Cup, but there are still more issues to be tackled," he said in a translated statement.

"To that end, I chose the path to challenge with the Japanese national team again. I want to strengthen the team.

"I have a great sense of expectation in Japan of rugby, I think are very pleased to be able to lead the team for the next Rugby World Cup."

The race for the All Blacks' head role is believed to have become a three-way battle between incumbent assistant Ian Foster, successful Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Scotland-based Kiwi Dave Rennie.

Some recent media reports have suggested Rennie is out of contention, potentially firming his favouritism to become the new Wallabies' coach, replacing Michael Cheika.

Joseph joins other high-profile coaches to remove themselves from contention, including Joe Schmidt, John Mitchell and Warren Gatland.