The hosts are in line for World Rugby awards.
Jamie Joseph and his Japan squad have been nominated for World Rugby awards in an elite field that includes the best teams and coaches in the game.
Rassie Erasmus and Eddie Jones, who will go head-to-head when South Africa and England meet in the World Cup final tomorrow, have been nominated for Coach of the Year along with Joseph, Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland.
Hansen, who has won the award four times, will be guiding New Zealand for the last time in today’s bronze medal play-off against Gatland’s Wales.
All four World Cup semi-finalists and Japan, who lost to South Africa in the quarter-finals, have been nominated for Team of the Year. The Player of the Year nominations will be published today. All winners will be announced Sunday, the day after the final.
Joseph could be the first coach of a Tier Two team to get the coaching honour which was first awarded in 2001.
Jones, who guided the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003, helped on South Africa’s winning campaign in 2007 and guided Japan to an historic upset win over South Africa in 2015, first won the coaching award in 2017, in his second year with England.
The finalists were selected a panel including ex-international players Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O’Driscoll and Agustin Pichot and former international coaches Nick Mallett and Clive Woodward.
Of Joseph, the panel said “hosts Japan made history during Rugby World Cup 2019 as they qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time, winning plaudits and new fans along the way.
“Jamie Joseph, their genial head coach, trusted in the skill of his players and the speed at which the Brave Blossoms played in victories against Ireland and Scotland will live long in the memory”.
South Africa won the southern hemisphere championship and the group-stage loss to New Zealand at Yokohama last month is their only loss in 11 Tests this year.