Rebels sign Japanese prop

Date published: February 5 2015

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The Rebels have completed their squad for the 2015 Super Rugby season, after signing Japanese international prop Keita Inagaki.

Inagaki joins the Rebels 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. Keita will be a part of the Rebels’ senior squad and is immediately eligible for selection.

The 24-year-old Inagaki, who plays for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan’s Top League, has been a standout for the Brave Blossoms and his club during his first two seasons as a professional player.

Inagaki said he would work hard in an attempt to become the third Japanese international to represent the club.

“I’m honoured to have the opportunity to represent my country and Panasonic in Melbourne with the Rebels,” said Inagaki.

“Working in a Super Rugby environment will provide me a great opportunity to improve my game, and I am looking forward to moving to a new city and meeting my teammates.”

Rebels’ Head Coach Tony McGahan said that anything was possible for the young front rower.

“We are certainly excited to witness Keita’s capabilities firsthand,” McGahan said.

“We will give him sufficient time to adapt to a new Club, new culture and new competition, however we are putting no limitations on what he can do.

“He comes highly recommended by (Japan head coach) Eddie Jones, and we are pleased to welcome Keita to the club.”

Inagaki made his international debut for Japan against the New Zealand Maori in November 2014, having a try disallowed as he started at loosehead prop, before making his test debut five days later against Romania in Bucharest and also playing against Georgia in Tbilsi in the Brave Blossoms’ final match of last year.

Rebels squad:

Cruze Ah-Nau, Paul Alo-Emile, Luke Burgess, Cam Crawford, Steve Cummins, Jack Debreczeni, Tamati Ellison, Tom English, Colby Fainga’a, Scott Fuglistaller, Jed Gillespie, Mike Harris, Bryce Hegarty, Scott Higginbotham, Keita Inagaki, Mitch Inman, Sam Jeffries, Luke Jones, Tom Kingston, Pat Leafa, Sean McMahon, Ben Meehan, Tim Metcher, Sefanaia Naivalu, Cadeyrn Neville, Jonah Placid, Jordy Reid, Radike Samo, Tom Sexton, Dom Shipperley, Toby Smith, Nic Stirzaker, Lopeti Timani, Telusa Veainu, Laurie Weeks, Ben Whittaker

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