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Chipu ready for tough Japan battle in Brazil

Chipu head coach Paul Odera delights in celebration after leading the side to the Barthes Cup title in Nairobi in April 2019. PHOTO/Arigi Obiero

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – The national Under-20 team will take on top seeds Japan in their third match at the World Rugby Junior Trophy in Brazil on Wednesday night, buoyed by confidence from their win against hosts Brazil last Sunday.

Chipu will hope to continue in the same breath of form against an unbeaten Japan and head coach Paul Odera hopes they can ride on the wave of their last gasp 26-24 win over Brazil to cause another upset against tournament favorites.

“The boys are in high spirits. A win does wonders in camp and it has given them a huge lift,” Odera told Capital Sports from Brazil.

Looking on to the game against Japan, the tactician who is on his last assignment with the juniors before permanently moving to the seniors says they expect an explosive game and has warned his charges to be extra vigilant.

“Japan are top seeds in this tournament and they have a dynamic and very explosive team. I think they have the most powerful scrum and can attack from anywhere in the field. We have to minimize kicking that it’s inaccurate and we have to play with ball in hand,” Odera stated looking ahead to the tie.

He added; “We have to put lots of pressure on their first receiver because if they are able to play from the start, they can cause damage.”

Dominic Coulson in action against Brazil during a World Junior Trophy match on July 14, 2019

The tactician also notes that playing at the World Junior Trophy against some of the world’s best teams will provide the team a good avenue for learning while also handing invaluable experience to those who will be fortunate enough to graduate to the seniors.

“We are able to benchmark our ability with what they are doing and this is something good for the future of the game,”

“It has been an unbelievable roller coaster for a lot of the players. It has been a steep learning curve; we are not only learning by the match but we are learning by every set piece and every play we encounter. The boys are quickly coming to terms that rugby at this level is very serious. The sheer pace, the pressure, the problems presented by teams are many they have never encountered before,” Odera said.

Looking back at the Japan game, the coach was happy with the improvement picked especially after a crushing first day defeat at the hands of Uruguay.

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Among the areas Odera was impressed with were the scrums and line outs which he said gave them an edge over the Brazilians infront of their home fans.

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