Larkham to end career in Japan

Australia test flyhalf Stephen Larkham will end his rugby career in Japan.

Larkham, 33, announced Wednesday that he had signed a three-year contract with Tokyo club Ricoh Black Rams which starts in April.

The 102-test veteran had signed a contract with British club Edinburgh but it collapsed when the team was taken over by administrators appointed by the Scotland Rugby Union.

“I’ve always wanted to play rugby in Japan, and now get the chance to do so a little earlier than expected,” Larkham said in a statement.

“My family is very excited by the opportunity to live in Tokyo.” Larkham’s test career ended at the World Cup in October when he watched Australia’s upset 12-10 quarterfinal loss to England from the sidelines in Marseille, France.

He played only one World Cup match in the 2007 tournament after suffering a knee injury in training, and then undergoing surgery twice after a subsequent infection.

Larkham was instrumental in Australia’s World Cup triumph in 1999, with his wobbly, long-range dropped goal giving Australia a crucial buffer against South Africa in the semifinals.

He also helped Australia to the final of the 2003 World Cup, which England clinched on Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time dropped goal.


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