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Japan Captain elects to skip Japan's summer Tests

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 08 May 2016, 12:33 pm

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/05/410134.html

Michael Leitch, who captained Japan during their impressive World Cup campaign in England last year, on Saturday told Kyodo News he will not be playing in three test matches in June to recharge himself.

Leitch, currently with the Chiefs in Super Rugby, said he will not be joining the squad for a trip away to Canada and two home matches against Scotland when Japan's mainstays are expected to be called up for the first time since last October.

"I'm not playing, I've decided against it," Leitch said. "I had no break since 2013. I think I won't be playing at all in June, whether it be test matches or here (for the Chiefs)."

The 27-year-old, who was getting contact from Masahiro Kunda, Japan Rugby Football Union's Director of Rugby, over playing as Brave Blossoms' captain, minced his words on when he is returning to the national team squad.

"I'd like to play, but I'm not in form to be able to. It's physically tough as well when I think of all the things ahead."

I wish some other Test players would do this. Unfortunately, coaches tend to see it as a black mark, so only the most secure can afford to pace themselves in this way. I recall Simpson Daniel was told by Brian Smith that his decision to get a proper pre season, rather than tour Argentina, counted against him for future England selection.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun 08 May 2016, 3:06 pm


This is fine so long as he doesnt play for the Chiefs on 14 June against Wales.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 08 May 2016, 8:21 pm

It's okay for a player to feel/know he needs a rest.  That's fine.  Perfectly understandable.  
And they should be allowed say they're feeling a bit exhausted, either mentally or physically, if the proof of said exhaustion is present (ie, either a lingering injury niggle or a high number of continuous high pressure games).  

However, if you just use the excuse of exhaustion to head off to Las Vegas for a gambling'n'gals holiday (Castrogiovani????  Cool ) then the coach has a right to question the sincerity of the excuse. The reasons for wanting a break must be sincere or that becomes a pretty unfair game played on the player that will be asked to fill in for you.  

Rugby is a competitive sport in many ways - the nature of it should be that you must play to keep yourself in a shirt and to keep your rival out of it.  You shouldn't expect too many favours or 'pick&choose' which games you consider to be worth it.  The coach decides which games are worth it...not the players.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun 08 May 2016, 8:41 pm


In this instance the Coach's priority is to win the Super Rugby competition, as it is Dave Rennie has a risk factor in having his other Internationals away playing for the ABs during this period.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 08 May 2016, 9:08 pm

Two masters...two priorities.... ze lot of ze International player, yes?

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 11 May 2016, 8:05 am

He's been named in the squad.

Despite having hinted he may take the month off, Michael Leitch has been included...

"Michael Leitch always does what is best for Japanese rugby," national squad director of rugby Masahiro Kunda said of the captain's apparent turnaround.

It is understood Kunda spoke several times with Leitch -- as did Jamie Joseph, who takes over as national coach in August once his commitments with the Highlanders have been completed -- to persuade Japan's captain at the World Cup to join the squad.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/05/410530.html

To complicate matters, there are rumours that he won't play against Canada.

Word going around that #JPN captain Michael Leitch will not travel to Vancouver for BB's test vs Canada due to exhaustion

(BB = Brave Blossoms)

https://twitter.com/shintarokano/status/730255136103129088


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Post by Shifty Tue 17 May 2016, 1:49 pm

It's the problem of Japan being on the Northern Hemisphere season, and now trying to switch to the Southern one for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby.

Japan have always had these issues, their club season is the same as Britains but they are invited to tour away in November like southern Hemisphere teams and have their home internationals in June when 6 Nations teams tour. It's a sad fact of life that Japan is really the only decent Asian country and are a bit isolated.
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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 17 May 2016, 2:42 pm

I have no issues with him skipping the Scotland games. Good player.

I actually think that John Hardie should do the same for us.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2016, 4:46 am

Well, he now has his break. He dislocated his thumb, and is out for two months.

Goromaru also picked up an injury at the weekend which will see him miss the Tests.

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