Natto, literally the polarizing Japanese equivalent of Vegemite, hints at the mixed feelings around Eddie Jones, expected to be confirmed as the new head coach of Japan’s national rugby team. The man is either loved or loathed, as he was during his coaching tenures in England and Australia, and Japan. However, rather than a straightforward tale of betrayal, his return to the Japan job he held from 2012-15 raises some interesting questions. While a private deal between Jones and JRFU president Masato Tsuchida has been claimed, some suggest Jones’ appointment may reek of favoritism. Nevertheless, his previous spell in Japan saw an interest in youth rugby and suggestions for high-performance improvements. Moreover, he had constant disagreements with the JRFU over player preparation, hinting at lingering issues. Jones’ familiarity with Japanese culture and methods for maximizing player potential can’t be denied, but he’s also met with claims of being tied to a bygone era. Opinions aside, the Japanese coach is back, a move that leaves many questions, doubts, and lingering uncertainties, especially for those involved in the application process alongside him.

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