Horie on track for Super 15 debut

Shota Horie is set to become the first Japanese ever to play in the Super 15, after he was named Tuesday in the Melbourne Rebels’ match-day 22 for their first-round game with the Western Force on Friday.

The 27-year-old hooker was on the replacements’ bench for the game, with a press release from the Rebels saying he is “certain to make history.”

Japan coach Eddie Jones said Horie’s selection was fully deserved.

“They have been very impressed by Shota in the trials,” Jones said of the Rebels coaching staff, which is headed by Damien Hill, who like Jones spent some time coaching at Suntory Sungoliath.

“He will definitely get some game time on Friday and if he does well, (he) could end up starting.”

Horie, who has played 19 times for his country, earned his spot on the Rebels’ roster following some good performances for Otago in New Zealand’s ITM Cup.