Brumbies sign Japan star Harumichi Tatekawa
January 6, 2014
The Brumbies have signed Japan playmaker Harumichi Tatekawa upon the recommendation of Eddie Jones, the Brave Blossoms coach. The fly-half and centre will join the Canberra-based franchise once Kubota Spears have completed their Top League campaign.
Tatekawa, 24, is described by Toutai Kefu as "the best Japanese player I've seen", the Wallabies great and Spears coach telling Canberra Times "he's a talented kid, skill-wise he can do everything and he's a big, tough boy". Kefu compared Tatekawa with Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua, "but he's still another foot taller than Toomua and that's unusual in Japan.''
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said of Tatekawa, noting that Christian Leali'ifano would be absent until at least March after post-season ankle surgery: "Another player in that 10-12 position is great for us. It allows depth and we're quite lucky to have Haru. There's going to be a lot of competition from those positions, and Haru will definitely be pushing for one of those spots given his form for the Japanese team. The standard of footy in Japan is a little bit less than Super Rugby, but I think individual players have the skills and when you put them in a good system you'll see improvement."
Tatekawa, who has won 20 caps for Japan, becomes the third Japanese player in Super Rugby after Fumiaki Tanaka (Highlanders) and Shota Horie (Melbourne Rebels).
Larkham told Canberra Times that Tatekawa had joined the Brumbies as part of a development plan.
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