Standoff Hiroaki Ito has pulled out of Japan’s World Cup squad in Australia and will return to Italy, rugby sources said Sunday.
Ito, who recently moved to Italian first-division club L’Aquila, was one of three players called up to the squad as cover for injuries at the start of this month but he told team officials of his wish to leave if regular standoffs Andrew Miller and Keiji Hirose stay injury free.
“I was actually going to wait until after the third World Cup game (against Fiji) to leave but Miller is in good shape so I decided to make it earlier,” said Ito.
“I want to return to Italy and try and get some league appearances under my belt (at L’Aqulia).”
Beaten in both of its games against Scotland and France, Japan faces Fiji on Thursday before playing the United States on Oct. 27 in its final pool B game.
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