Waratahs bring in Japan centre

Date published: February 6 2015

The Waratahs have announced the signing of Japanese international centre Kotaro Matsushima for the 2015 Super Rugby Season.

Matsushima – who arrived from Suntory Sungoliath – has agreed to a short-term contract with the defending Super Rugby champions and will join the squad in March through to August 2015.

The 21 year-old South African-born Matsushima is fast developing a reputation in both Japan and South Africa for his pace and agility on field as well as his versatility at wing, centre and full-back.

Demonstrating a sharp side-step, the youngster impressed recently at outside centre in Japan’s clash against Samoa in 2014 and has many speculating of his future in Super Rugby.

“I am greatly appreciated (sic) for my team to let me challenge to join the great team like Waratahs,” said Matsushima.

“I am very looking forward to have a new experience and learn a lot of things. And I want to grow more, not only a better player but also as a person.”

Suntory Sungoliath welcomed the news.

“We are very happy to announce Matsushima’s new challenge to Super Rugby. We hope that he will have the great experience and grow as a professional player,” said a spokesman for Suntory Sungoliath.

The former Toin Gakuen High School student showed promise from an early age and became the first Japanese player to be signed to the Durban Sharks Academy in 2011, making his debut for the Sharks XV in 2014.

Matsushima has earned six Test caps for Japan, debuting for the national side against the Philippines in May 2014 and scoring two tries in that match.