Transfer Rumours: Japanese wing-wizard set for move to Europe
According to RUGBY RAMA in France, Japan’s World Cup star Kotaro Matsushima is close to signing for Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne.
Having fought off competition from Racing 92, the utility back, who can play as a winger, fullback or outside centre, is expected to join as a replacement for Nick Abendanon and Isaia Toeava, who are both expected to leave Parc des Sports Marcel Michelinat the end of the season.
The 26-year-old scored Japan’s first World Cup hat-trick against Russia in the opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and went on to score five tries during the tournament.
Matsushima, who has 35 caps to date, was born in South Africa to a Japanese mother and a Zimbabwean father, moving to Yokohama – the site of the World Cup final in November – as a child.
He returned to South Africa in 2012 and signed with the Sharks and was even included in the Springboks’ training squad ahead of the 2013 U20 Rugby World Cup, though he did not make the final team as the Baby Boks came third.
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The winger returned to Japan in 2014, signing with Suntory Sungoliath, before year-long spells with the Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby, though he hardly featured for either side.
Matsushima was named by Eddie Jones in the 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, scoring a try against the USA.