Rugby: Japan opt out of autumn's 'Eight Nations'

PARIS (AFP) – Japan have chosen against taking part in this autumn’s “Eight Nations” tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, sources told AFP on Thursday (Aug 27).

The host of last year’s Rugby World Cup were set to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, as well as fellow invitees Fiji, for the competition which is set to replace the cancelled November Tests.

The Brave Blossoms were to join France, Gregor Townsend’s Scotland as well as Franco Smith’s Italian side in a four-team group held between Nov 14 and Dec 5.

The Asian country has recently limited foreign arrivals due to the Covid-19 outbreak which according to local media has hampered the return of some of Japan’s coaching staff.

The measures restrict plans by Jamie Joseph, who led his outfit to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 2019, to hold a training camp ahead of the newly-created competition.

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