Sub-editor/Correspondent, Singapore
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Jun 5, 2014

Honda carries burden of Japan’s Cup challenge

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – If Japan are going to make a first World Cup quarter-final they will require Keisuke Honda to be firing on all cylinders.

The bleach-blond playmaker is the central figure in coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s attacking plans with the Asian champions, who are competing at their fifth successive World Cup since their debut appearance in 1998, confident of improving on their last-16 exit by Paraguay four years ago.

Jun 5, 2014

Zaccheroni’s flair faces acid test with Japan

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Alberto Zaccheroni has done his best over four years in charge of Japan to dismiss the stereotype of Italian football men being focused on defence.

The Italian coach has transformed the Blue Samurai into a high-tempo attacking unit full of flair and capable of cutting open and scoring against the toughest of oppositions.

Jun 5, 2014

Defensive frailties hinder Japan’s Brazil ambitions

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – Japan’s attacking flair and favorable draw have boosted belief they can reach a first World Cup quarter-final, but those ambitions rely on coach Alberto Zaccheroni being able to fix their leaky defense.

The Asian champions have been paired with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Greece in an even-looking Group C in Brazil, their fifth consecutive appearance at the finals.

Jun 5, 2014

Honda carries burden of Japan’s World Cup challenge

By Patrick Johnston

(Reuters) – If Japan are going to make a first World Cup quarter-final they will require Keisuke Honda to be firing on all cylinders.

The bleach-blond playmaker is the central figure in coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s attacking plans with the Asian champions, who are competing at their fifth successive World Cup since their debut appearance in 1998, confident of improving on their last-16 exit by Paraguay four years ago.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Honda carries burden of Japan’s Cup challenge

June 5 (Reuters) – If Japan are going to make a first World Cup quarter-final they will require Keisuke Honda to be firing on all cylinders.

The bleach-blond playmaker is the central figure in coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s attacking plans with the Asian champions, who are competing at their fifth successive World Cup since their debut appearance in 1998, confident of improving on their last-16 exit by Paraguay four years ago.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Zaccheroni’s flair faces acid test with Japan

June 5 (Reuters) – Alberto Zaccheroni has done his best over four years in charge of Japan to dismiss the stereotype of Italian football men being focused on defence.

The Italian coach has transformed the Blue Samurai into a high-tempo attacking unit full of flair and capable of cutting open and scoring against the toughest of oppositions.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Defensive frailties hinder Japan’s Brazil ambitions

June 5 (Reuters) – Japan’s attacking flair and favourable draw have boosted belief they can reach a first World Cup quarter-final, but those ambitions rely on coach Alberto Zaccheroni being able to fix their leaky defence.

The Asian champions have been paired with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Greece in an even-looking Group C in Brazil, their fifth consecutive appearance at the finals.

May 23, 2014

Richie who? Lack of TV coverage hinders Asia’s Super Rugby bid

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Free-to-air TV coverage is essential if Super Rugby wants to build its profile in Asia sufficiently for the continent to host a team over the next five to 10 years, the head of the ARFU has told Reuters.

With Super Rugby set to expand from 15 to 18 teams in 2016, an Asian franchise was tipped to join Argentina and a sixth team from South Africa in the competition, which also features five Australian and five New Zealand sides.

May 23, 2014

Rugby- Richie who? Lack of TV coverage hinders Asia’s Super Rugby bid

SINGAPORE, May 23 (Reuters) – Free-to-air TV coverage is essential if Super Rugby wants to build its profile in Asia sufficiently for the continent to host a team over the next five to 10 years, the head of the ARFU has told Reuters.

With Super Rugby set to expand from 15 to 18 teams in 2016, an Asian franchise was tipped to join Argentina and a sixth team from South Africa in the competition, which also features five Australian and five New Zealand sides.

May 22, 2014

Too soon for Super Rugby in Asia – ARFU

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asia is not ready to host a Super Rugby franchise, the head of the ARFU told Reuters, with no union or sponsor in a position to underwrite the $100 million five-year cost of hosting the Southern Hemisphere competition’s 18th team.

Asian Rugby Football Union president and Hong Kong Rugby Union chairman Trevor Gregory ruled out his city from bidding to join the league, which is run by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and announced plans earlier this month to expand to 18 teams.