Japan's last-gasp win delights coach Jones

Japan's 25-22 Test win over Georgia with a 25-metre last-gasp drop goal from Kosei Ono gave their Australian coach Eddie Jones some atonement for the Wallabies' nightmare loss to England in 2003.

Japan's stand off Kosei Ono places the ball during the tune-up game against the Asian Barbarians in Tokyo for the Rugby World Cup in France on 10 August 2007. Japan's 25-22 Test win over Georgia with a 25-metre last-gasp drop goal from Kosei Ono gave their Australian coach Eddie Jones some atonement for the Wallabies' nightmare loss to England in 2003.

Fly-half Ono's goal three minutes into time added on in Tbilisi on Saturday gave Japan their second win during their tour of Europe. They beat Romania 34-23 a week ago for their first-ever Test victory on the continent.

"I've lost one big game through a drop goal but never won one till now," the 52-year-old Australian quipped to Kyodo News in the Georgian capital.

Before a home crowd at the 2003 rugby World Cup final in Sydney, Jones' Wallabies bowed to England 20-17 as Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal in extra-time.

"We showed plenty of courage with the ball in hand and then when we defended without the ball," Jones said, according to the Japan Rugby Football Union website.

"The mental courage was shown by our desire to attack from our own goal line."

Ono's decisive drop goal and Hirotoki Onozawa's try in time added on in the first half both came from quick tap penalties close to the Japan line.

"We were physically out-manned. They were better in the scrums and the line-outs but we still won so it is not a bad achievement," Jones said. "You have got to admire the players."

After the two wins, the Brave Blossoms will take on a Basque select team next Wednesday and the French Barbarians four days later.

Jones took over Japan's national team in April after leading Suntory Sungoliath to the country's Top League and national championship double.

He is aiming to make the perennial Asian champions a global top-10 force by the 2015 World Cup in England before Japan host it four years later.

"We are not physically inferior in terms of size but we are in terms of strength," he told the union's website.

"But it is achievable within three years and will give us a platform to become one of the top 10 teams in the world. We know we can play rugby with ball in hand."

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency