Japan lift Loamanu’s lifetime ban

Date published: December 9 2014

Leicester Tigers back Christian Loamanu is free to resume his international career for Japan after his indefinite ban was lifted by the Japan Rugby Football Union.

In 2009 the Tonga-born former Toshiba Brave Lupus wing was sanctioned for an indefinite period by the JRFU after he tested positive for cannabis following a domestic Top League game.

Having been banned from the national for a year after he was involved in an altercation with professional female wrestler in 2005, the JRFU handed him unprecedented ban.

Earlier in 2014 International Rugby Players’ Association engaged the JRFU to conduct a review of the sanction and allow IRPA to present a case for Loamanu’s sanction to be lifted.

Loamanu made his international debut for his adopted country aged just 18 years 338 days was, the youngest player to ever play for the Brave Blossoms and he went on to play for Toulon and Treviso during his Japanese exile.

“We appreciate the effort and consideration by the JRFU in reviewing the sanction imposed on Christian,” said IRPA’s Josh Blackie.

“He has shown great character throughout this process by taking responsibility for a mistake he made as a young man, learning from it, and bouncing back in a positive way.

Loamanu now hoped to play for Japan at the 2015 World Cup.

“I would like to thank the JRFU for allowing me the opportunity to have my sanction reviewed and subsequently lifting the ban,” he said.

“As a young man I made an error of judgement where I let myself and a lot of others down who believed in me. Over the past five years I have learnt a lot and have a strong desire to play international rugby for Japan again.”