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RugbyU: Japan coach Jones in hospital with suspected stroke

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Japan head coach Eddie Jones has been hospitalised with signs of a minor stroke ahead of his squad's Test against the All Blacks in Tokyo on November 2, officials said Wednesday.

The 53-year-old Australian complained of a headache late Tuesday when he returned to Tokyo from an inspection of the Brave Blossoms' training camp, a spokeswoman for the Japan Rugby Football Union said.

"He was with the team's staff at the time and they went together to a hospital in Tokyo by taxi," Mayuko Watanabe told AFP.

"The doctors said he was showing signs of a light cerebral infarction and he was hospitalised for examination."

Japan general manager Kensuke Iwabuchi told Japanese media Jones was conscious. "He has no problem with communicating."

His condition was made known on the day the union announced a 32-man squad for the All Blacks Test and a four-game tour of Europe.

In a press statement, Jones declared the Brave Blossoms were raring to upset the world champions.

"I am excited to create another new history," he said, recalling Japan's victories over Georgia and Romania last year -- their first Test wins in Europe outside of a Rugby World Cup -- as well as their defeat of under-strength Wales at home in June this year.

"I have selected the best 32 players who are performing well at the moment."

The squad included two uncapped players, Yamaha Jubilo No. 8 Kyosuke Horie and Panasonic Wild Knights wing Akihito Yamada, along with four New Zealand-born players -- Luke Thompson, Michael Broadhurst, Justin Ives and Male Sa'u.

The general manager said: "We are looking to the future positively, including the Test and the tour."

Jones took over from All Black legend John Kirwan as Japan head coach in April 2012 after guiding the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, which they lost to England, and serving as adviser to South Africa when they won the 2007 World Cup.

He has led the Blossoms to their fifth and sixth straight Asian Five Nations titles.

Jones has vowed to develop Japan into a top-10 rugby nation before the 2015 World Cup in England, as the Asian champions prepare to host the 2019 edition.

However, they finished fourth in the five-way Pacific Nations Cup last June.

The All Blacks will play Japan at Tokyo's Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, in their first Test on Japanese soil.

The Brave Blossoms will leave for their European tour the day after the Test.

They will take on Scotland on November 9, Gloucester on November 12 and Russia in Colwyn Bay on November 15.

They will finish the tour with a Test against Spain in Madrid on November 23.

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