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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Kirwan named as new Japan coach
Former Italy coach John Kirwan
Kirwan won 63 caps for New Zealand as a player
John Kirwan has been appointed as the new coach of the Japan national team.

The former New Zealand wing, who was dismissed as Italy coach after a winless Six Nations in 2005, takes up his new role on 1 January.

He will act as team advisor for the World Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong and South Korea next month.

"He has a clear vision to win at least two games at the World Cup," said Japan Rugby Football Union general manager Osamu Ota.

"He has a long-term vision to improve the Japan national team.

"He has agreed to live in Japan, he understands Japanese culture and customs, and has previously coached an international team."

Kirwan had a glittering career with the All Blacks, scoring 35 tries, and played club rugby in Italy during the 1980s.

He played for NEC in Japan between 1997-99 and after a stint with the Auckland Blues, became head coach of Italy in 2002.

SEE ALSO
Kirwan rules out Wales position
06 Apr 06 |  Internationals
Kirwan keen on Wales coaching job
12 Mar 06 |  Internationals
Italian coach Kirwan leaves post
08 Apr 05 |  Internationals
Kirwan battles to save Italy job
19 Mar 05 |  Internationals
Kirwan linked to Leinster vacancy
23 Apr 05 |  Rugby Union


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