Japan’s historic moment recalled
● Capturing the glint in Eddie Jones’ eye and finding the nuance in his cheeky grin that bordered between arrogance and genuine delight, will be the tough task facing New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison, who will play Jones in a movie of Japan’s most famous sporting moment.
Japan’s historic 34-32 Rugby World Cup 2015 win over the Springboks in Brighton is considered one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time. Jones planned the Boks’ Brighton downfall eight years after helping the Boks plot their way to World Cup glory as an assistant coach at RWC 2007.
Famously brutal taskmaster
Australian filmmaker Max Mannix, who lived and worked in Japan for 14 years, will direct the movie that has a working title, The Brighton Miracle. Filming starts in January 2019 and if all goes well the end product could reach cinemas to coincide with Japan’s hosting of RWC 2019 in October.
Mannix will explore the match but also focus on the months leading up to the fixture by examining the role Jones played in bringing his team to a point where they were capable of beating the two-time world champions. Jones, a famously brutal taskmaster, had driven his players so hard that he knew the World Cup was his last with the team. The players gave him their all, but coach and team were done despite the result against the Boks.
Jones admitted in the aftermath of that famous win, secured by a try from replacement back Karne Hesketh four minutes into injury time, that his team believed they could win if their tactics came off.
“If there was high ball-in-play time it would give us a chance to win,” Jones told the Sunday Times after the match in Brighton. “We worked hard for it and I have never worked as hard as I have to prepare this team for that match.”
In the days leading up to the match, Jones gave one of his typically bullish media conferences where he warned the gathered press that his side might cause an upset. No one believed him. Mannix plans to examine various themes, such as Jones’ Japanese heritage (his mother is Japanese) and the racism and challenges he encountered growing up in the Sydney suburbs.
“Eddie understood humiliation because he had lived it,” Mannix told Kyodo News.
“He is a complex character and I wanted people to see why that is. What Eddie Jones and his team did in 2015 was truly magnificent and worthy of being remembered. What I want to do is try and show why it happened and where did the self-belief come from.”
Japan had won only one of 24 previous World Cup matches going into the 2015 tournament. They are still the unwanted holders of the second biggest losing margin in World Cup history, when they lost 145-17 to the All Blacks in Bloemfontein in 1995.