Rugby World Cup 2019: Michael Leitch talks up Japan’s World Cup hopes

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Michael Leitch hoping for more Rugby World Cup glory for Japan after 2015 success.

Japan’s New Zealand-born captain Michael Leitch says he hopes to build a team capable of aiming for the Rugby World Cup title.

The 30-year-old flanker claims Japan – who will host the World Cup next month – have become a more self-reliant team under Kiwi coach Jamie Joseph than they were under Eddie Jones at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Japan caused the greatest upset in Rugby World Cup history with a win over South Africa in the 2015 tournament.

They are now ranked ninth in the world and recently won the Pacific Nations Cup and Leitch has high hopes for their World Cup campaign.

Japan's New Zealand-born captain Michael Leitch is confident his team can aim high at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES

Japan’s New Zealand-born captain Michael Leitch is confident his team can aim high at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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Michael Leitch, centre, is mobbed by Japan team-mates after scoring a try in an upset win over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

JULIAN FINNEY/GETTY IMAGES

Michael Leitch, centre, is mobbed by Japan team-mates after scoring a try in an upset win over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

“I hope to build the team so we can aim for the title,” he told theKyodo News.

“If we focus on preparation, we will be able to play consistently and the results will follow.

Japan's Kiwi coach Jamie Joseph.

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