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Murata announces retirement

Kyodo News

Wataru Murata, the first Japanese professional rugby player, who played in France for two seasons, will retire at the end of the current Japanese season, Top League club Yamaha Jubilo announced Thursday. Murata, who turns 40 on Friday, helped Toshiba Fuchu to three consecutive national championship crowns from 1997 before becoming the first Japanese rugby player to turn professional when the scrum-half joined French side Aviron Bayonne in the summer of 1999. Capped 41 times for Japan, Murata played in the World Cup in 1991, 1995 and 1999.