Brumbies' Blossom has 'three- or four-year plan'
January 24, 2014
Toutai Kefu describes Haru Tatekawa as "Japan's Matt Toomua" © Getty Images
Harumichi Tatekawa is confident he can overcome the language barrier after becoming the first Japanese player to join the Brumbies, who are looking to play him immediately at fly-half or inside centre in their first Super Rugby pre-season trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown on January 31.
Tatekawa speaks minimal English and has the support of Taishi Furukawa as a translator for just this week, with the Kubota backs coach heading home on Sunday, but Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham insists ''rugby has its own language''.
''We've got to get our structures in his head, but he's super keen to get in there,'' Larkham told Fairfax Media. ''He's a playmaker … it's positive the way he's responded and by the end of the week he'll be more up to speed. Rugby has its own language, we speak in a different lingo here.''
Tatekawa is unfazed by the challenge of joining the Brumbies, telling Fairfax Media through his translator "this isn't just a one-year plan, this is a three- or four-year plan for me and this is the first try".
''I want to improve the Japanese rugby level, to take it higher. The language barrier is a big challenge for me. Communication is a vital skill, my English has to improve. [Japan coach] Eddie [Jones] said to take on the challenge and then [go] back to Japan [as a better player].''
Tatekawa has played 20 Tests for Japan, and former Wallabies No.8 Toutai Kefu, the Kubota coach, has described him as the Japanese version of Brumbies and Wallabies five-eighth Matt Toomua.
Brumbies team-mate Scott Fardy, the Wallabies flanker who debuted at Test level only after playing in Japan for three years, has confidence the Cherry Blossoms star will settle in Canberra.
''In rugby, a lot of the terms we use are the same, so he should pick it up pretty quickly," Fardy told Fairfax Media. " Communication is always going to be hard and the physicality is different. But Haru looks at home already and he's a big boy as well.''
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