Newcastle sign Japanese prop

Date published: January 27 2016

The Newcastle Falcons have welcomed prop Kensuke Hatakeyama to their ranks on a short term contract.

The tighthead has featured for the Suntory Sungoliath side since 2008 and also earned 72 caps for Japan. He also starred in the Brave Blossoms incredible win over South Africa at last year's Rugby World Cup.

Hatakeyama is eager to make a mark on the Premiership after having turned down an offer to play for Japan's new Super Rugby franchise, the Sunwolves. 

"I'm really glad I was given an opportunity to prove myself in the Premiership," said the 30-year-old in a statement.

"I believe this challenge with Newcastle Falcons will be a wonderful experience and a chance to improve my rugby, and I’m looking forward to it."

Hatakeyama has been released by his club from February to the end of April. Suntory believe the prop will benefit greatly from the experience. 

"We are really happy with Hatakeyama’s challenge in the Premiership," the club said.

"We believe his challenge will not only lead to his development, but also that of Sungoliath and Japanese rugby. We will cheer him on hoping that it becomes a great experience ahead of the new season and the 2019 World Cup in Japan."