Sunday Times

Ja­pan’s his­toric mo­ment re­called

- By CRAIG RAY Japan · Belgium · New Zealand · South Africa national rugby union team · Brighton · Iceland · Austria · Belarus · Sydney · Bloemfontein Celtic F.C. · Bloemfontein · Temuera Morrison · Hesketh Racing · Bob Sinclar · New Zealand national rugby union team · Rugby World Cup 2015

● 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.”

Com­plex char­ac­ter

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa