Jamie Joseph has announced plans to step down as Japan head coach after this year’s Rugby World Cup, local media reported.
The New Zealander led the Brave Blossoms to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time on home soil four years ago and will coach the team again at this year’s tournament in France.
But that will mark the end of his seven-and-a-half years in charge, local media reported at the team’s training camp in southern Japan on Wednesday.
“I think it’s a good time for me to step away,” Joseph was quoted as saying, adding that his top priority was to prepare for the World Cup.
Joseph was in the frame to take over as All Blacks head coach but was beaten to the job by Scott Robertson in March.
He has been linked to club sides in Japan’s domestic league but told AFP last month that “anything is possible” for him after the World Cup.
Japan have been drawn in Pool D with England, Argentina, Samoa and Chile.
Joseph is aiming to reach at least the quarter-finals after leading Japan to their best-ever World Cup performance in 2019.
The 53-year-old took over from Eddie Jones following the 2015 World Cup.
He previously coached the Highlanders in his native New Zealand, leading them to the Super Rugby title in 2015.
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