November 22, 2012
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Japanese first as Horie signs for Rebels

Shota Horie is in line to become the first Japanese player to take part in Super Rugby in Australia after joining the Melbourne Rebels for next season, team officials said.

Horie, a hooker with the Panasonic Wild Knights, will link up with the Rebels early next month and be available for Japanese selection throughout the Rebels' 2013 campaign, a team spokesman said late on Wednesday.

Horie debuted for Otago in this year's ITM Cup and was part of the Japanese national side in last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Now he is on target to become the first Japanese player to play for an Australian team in the competition's 17-year history.

"I am honoured to become a part of the Melbourne Rebels. I would like to contribute to the team's success as much as I can and also to prove the potential of Japanese players in Super rugby," Horie said in a statement.

Rebels head coach Damien Hill, who spent three years coaching in Japan, understands the significance of the signing.

"The work ethic of all Japanese players is of the highest order, to have him as part of this club will have an immediate impact," Hill said.

"He comes with a point to prove, as do most of our players we bring from afar. That drive will be infectious, and will bring the best out of all the hookers at the club."

Shota is the second Japanese player signed for the 2013 Super Rugby season following the recruitment by New Zealand's Otago Highlanders of scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka.

AFP

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