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NZ's Karauna appointed Japan sevens coach

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Ex-All Black Rugby Sevens Skills Coach Damian Karauna. © Michael Bradley/Getty Images Ex-All Black Rugby Sevens Skills Coach Damian Karauna. New Zealand's Damian Karauna has replaced Tomohiro Segawa as coach of the Japan men's sevens team.

Karauna, 41, was New Zealand's assistant coach at the Rio Olympics, and his first assignment will be to lead Japan at the Dubai Sevens from December 2-3.

Japan beat New Zealand in Rio, eventually finishing fourth overall, and Karauna says his aim is to build on that success at the Games in Tokyo in 2020.

"After the success in Rio, our team will continue to grow by developing new players and achieving consistent results," he told Japan's Kyodo news agency.

Segawa was disappointed by the decision to replace him.

"My next aim was to win a medal at the Tokyo Games and to be told I'm leaving despite having such motivation was frankly disappointing," he said in a statement.

"I believe the JRFU judged that a next step was needed in order to win a medal in 2020.

"I take pride in having this passion more than anyone. I'll keep studying hard and if I have a chance I'd like to come back to work in sevens."

Keiko Asami, who coached the Japanese women's team, has also stepped down, with Hitoshi Inada replacing her on an interim basis.

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