Aussie League star ‘Wings’ it to Japan for Union

Australian star Craig Wing said Tuesday he will quit the National Rugby League (NRL) at the end of the year to play union in Japan.

The utility back, who has played for Australia 16 times, said he decided to switch codes because he wanted “new adventures” after 11 years in league.

“At this stage in my career I am eager to travel and see the world and taste the experience of playing professional sport in another country with a different culture,” the 29-year-old said in a statement.

“I know that my time in Japan will give me a unique perspective on life.”


Wing’s NRL club South Sydney said it agreed to release the player from the final two years of his contract.

“We certainly wish Craig all the very best in his transition to rugby union in Japan from 2010,” Souths chief executive Shane Richardson said.

Wing had reportedly experienced difficulties with third-party agreements designed to top up his salary at Souths.

He said he had played rugby union as a schoolboy “and it has always been a passion of mine.”

“The chance to play overseas and embark on new adventures is something I am really looking forward to,” he said.

Wing’s statement did not reveal which Japanese club he would play for, but said he would relocate to Tokyo in January 2010.

Wing won an NRL premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2002 and has represented New South Wales in State of Origin 12 times.

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