Planet Rugby



Rising Japanese star joins Brumbies

05th January 2014 09:40


Harumichi Tatekawa japan

Highly rated: Harumichi Tatekawa

The Brumbies have confirmed the arrival of 23-year-old Japan international Harumichi Tatekawa for next season in Super Rugby.

Hailed by former Wallabies number eight and current Kubota coach Toutai Kefu as ''the best Japanese player I've seen'', Tatekawa will arrive in Canberra with plenty of expectation on his shoulders.

Another Japanese international, Fumiaki Tanaka, has already made an impact for the Highlanders in Super Rugby, with Kefu hoping Tatekawa can do the same.

''How [Tatekawa] translates to Super Rugby is a bit unknown,'' Kefu told the Canberra Times.

''I think he can do it, he's a talented kid. Skill-wise he can do everything and he's a big, tough boy.

''He's like Matt Toomua, but he's still another foot taller than Toomua and that's unusual in Japan.'

''By letting these players go to Australia, it's going to snowball development and make them better players by opening a pathway."

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham added that he was excited to see Tatekawa compete with the other fly-halves and inside centres in the squad for selection.

''Another player in that 10-12 position is great for us, it allows depth and we're quite lucky to have Haru,'' said Larkham.

''There's going to be a lot of competition from those positions and Haru will definitely be pushing for one of those spots given his form for the Japanese team.

''Having played over in Japan for three years, they know the rugby lingo and that won't be a problem.

''The standard of footy in Japan is a little bit less than Super Rugby, but I think individual players have the skills and when you put them in a good system you'll see improvement.

''I've got no doubt Haru will be ready to play. Sometimes they don't get exposure at high-level rugby and this is a good opportunity.''