SA-born Japanese Rugby World Cup star signs for Clermont

Kotaro Matsushima (Getty)
Kotaro Matsushima (Getty)

Lyon - The Japanese international back Kotaro Matsushima, one of the revelations of the recent World Cup, will join Clermont on a two-year contract, the Top 14 club announced on Tuesday.

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The 26-year-old South African-born back scored five tries, including a hat-trick against Russia, as hosts Japan reached the quarter-finals for the first time.

He will join Clermont in the summer, going some way to making up for the loss at the end of this season of South African-born English international Nick Abendanon and Samoan-born former All Black Isaia Toeava.

Clermont hailed "this huge recruitment" and called Matsushima, who can play fullback or winger, a "true revelation" of the World Cup "where his sharp runs and lightning speed dazzled the rugby world."

The signing is "fantastic news for the club, our region and our supporters," said Franck Azema, ASM's sporting director.

Matsushima was also enthusiastic in the club's press release.

"My wish was to join a great rugby team and a club that really wanted me to be part of its goals," he said. "The people of Clermont-Ferrand have been in contact with me for a long time and showed a lot of interest in my coming."

Matsushima has played for three Super Rugby teams, starting with the Sharks in South Africa, followed by a stint with the Rebels in Australia and most recently with the Japanese franchise the Sunwolves.

He has won two Japanese titles with Suntory Sungoliath and scored 19 tries for the national team. He had a youthful spell in France in 2011 playing for the Toulouse under-21 team.

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Pakistan 139/2 (49 ov)
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England 0
Pakistan 139/2 (49 ov)
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