Rugby union: Uncowed Japanese intend bloody nose for second-string All Blacks

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's interim rugby union coach Scott Wisemantel has promised his side will attack World Cup holders New Zealand in Saturday's David v Goliath match in Tokyo.

"We are not going out there with a defeatist attitude," he told reporters on Thursday. "We want to attack and go out there and actually win the game."

While the All Blacks will field an experimental side, they still include two of rugby's all-time greats in skipper Richie McCaw and fly-half Dan Carter, and the visitors enter the match unbeaten in 10 matches this year.

Having slain a weakened Welsh dragon in June in a breakthrough 23-8 home win, the Japan set-up was stunned when coach Eddie Jones suffered a mild stroke and was hospitalised two weeks ago.

Wales had been missing 15 players on Lions duty in Australia, while New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has made 14 changes from the side who beat Australia 41-33 in their Bledisloe Cup clash on Oct 19.

Despite Hansen's decision to blood new players and look at different combinations, realistically 2019 World Cup hosts Japan will be looking to hang onto the coat-tails of the mighty All Blacks, who will subsequently travel to Europe for further games against France, England and Ireland.

Japan's previous encounters with New Zealand make for painful reading, hammered 83-7 at the 2011 World Cup and ripped apart in a record 145-17 defeat at the 1995 tournament.

Wisemantel insisted, however, that his waspish players would get in and among their fearsome opponents.

"We want to attack with and without the ball," he said. "The Wales game was a cumulative result of all the games played before and the improvement under Eddie.

"The big thing was that we believed we could beat teams ranked higher than us (15th) in the IRB (International Rugby Board) rankings.

"We've had plenty of discussions with Eddie. We've been e-mailing frequently. I'm going to the hospital to see him tomorrow."

Captain Toshiaki Hirose said he was relishing the challenge of going up against the inspirational McCaw, who will be pulling on the All Blacks jersey for the 121st time.

"McCaw is one of the giants of world rugby and it will be amazing to be up close against him," said the Toshiba winger.

Defiant before his baptism of fire, Wisemantel insisted Jones was still very much involved from his hospital bed, while Hirose revealed he had also received messages from the former Australia coach.

"Eddie e-mailed me and told me to keep doing what I'm doing and to stand up and be a leader," said Hirose.

After the weekend's challenge, Wisemantel will take Japan to Europe for matches against Scotland at its Murrayfield stadium on Nov 9, before games against Gloucester and Russia, culminating in a Test against Spain on Nov 23.

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