Japan's potential progress to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals would not only serve as an inspiration for tier-two nations but the hosts would be seen as role models for countries looking to grow the game, United States coach Gary Gold said on Friday.
Japan are currently top of Pool A – three points ahead of Ireland and four ahead of Scotland – and they stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stages when they play the Scots in the final pool game on Sunday in Yokohama.
The Brave Blossoms have never reached the World Cup knockout stages in eight previous attempts and Gold said it would be 'tremendous' if the Asian side joined the heavyweights in the quarter-finals.
"For us, they are an unbelievable role model for so many reasons and I'm talking about the U.S. particularly," Gold told reporters ahead of their final game against Tonga.
"This is the reason why I feel so very strongly that if World Rugby genuinely do want to grow the game – as they claim they want to – then USA have to be a contender for the 2027 Rugby World Cup."