Force sign Japanese winger for Super Rugby

 Western Australian Super Rugby franchise the Force have signed Japanese international Akihito Yamada for what will be their tenth year in Super Rugby.

The Western Force have signed Yamada as a concessional signing for one year, with each Australian club permitted to recruit one Japanese player in addition to their 35-man senior squad. Yamada will be a part of the Western Force’s senior squad and is immediately eligible for selection.

The 29-year-old try-scoring winger has played 10 Tests for the Brave Blossoms since making his debut against Russia last year, crossing for eight tries, including four in Japan’s 62-5 win over Korea in May this year.

The dynamic outside back is currently representing the Panasonic Wild Knights, who currently sit atop of Japan’s Top League, where he has scored 58 tries over four seasons for the team based in Japan’s Gunma province.

Yamada, who scored 20 tries in 14 matches for the Wild Knights during the 2012/2013 season, will join the Force on completion of his current season in Japan.

Yamada says he is looking forward to the new opportunity that awaits him in Western Australia.

“I’m really excited to have this great opportunity to play in Super Rugby as a member of the Western Force team,” he said.

“I would like to thank everyone, including Panasonic, that has supported me throughout my career and I hope to have a good season in Perth.”

Head Coach Michael Foley says Yamada is an exciting addition to the Force squad.

“Aki is an attacking wing /fullback, who has demonstrated an ability to find the try line,” he said.

“While he’s played international rugby for Japan, he’s keen to keep improving and has expressed a desire to challenge for a place in the match squad.”

The Western Force will kick off their season against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday, 15 February.

Name: Akihito Yamada
Born: 26/07/1985, Kyoto (Japan)
Position: Wing
Height: 181cm
Weight: 90kg
Test caps: 10
Test points: 40 (8 tries)
Test debut: 2013 v Russia, Colwyn Bay (Wales)

Representative Rugby: 2013-2014 Japan, 2010-2014 Panasonic Wild Knights, 2008-2010 Honda Heat

2015 Western Force squad:

Robbie Abel (EPS), Chris Alcock, Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Nathan Charles, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan,

Patrick Dellit, Sias Ebersohn, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Dane Haylett-Petty, Ross Haylett-Petty (EPS), Chris Heiberg, Matt Hodgson, Zack Holmes, Oliver Hoskins, Brad Lacey (EPS), Ryan Louwrens (EPS), Steve Mafi, Alby Mathewson, Ben McCalman, Luke Morahan, Albert Nikoro, Ian Prior, Solomoni Rasolea, Mitchell Scott, Brynard Stander, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Heath Tessmann, Francois van Wyk (EPS), Rory Walton, Sam Wykes, Akihito Yamada

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