Western Force have announced the signing of Japanese international wing Akihito Yamada ahead of their tenth season of Super Rugby in 2015.
Yamada joins the Perth side 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 ten 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.
“I’m really excited to have this great opportunity to play in Super Rugby as a member of the Western Force team,” he told the Force website.
“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/full-back, 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.”