• Kyodo


The Panasonic Wild Knights on Friday announced the departure of Japan scrumhalf Fumiaki Tanaka and winger Akihito Yamada from the Top League club.

In a major personnel shakeup for the Ota, Gunma Prefecture-based Wild Knights, Australian flyhalf Berrick Barnes, a two-time Top League MVP, will also leave, while former Japan international Ryu Koliniasi Holani will retire as a player and begin coaching full time.

According to a source , Tanaka and Yamada, both of whom have played for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby, will transfer to other domestic clubs.

The 34-year-old Tanaka, who has 69 Japan caps, played Super Rugby for the Dunedin, New Zealand-based Highlanders before joining the Sunwolves in 2017.

He was named man of the match in Japan’s historic 34-32 victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

Yamada, 33, has played 25 games for the Brave Blossoms.

The Tongan-born Holani, 37, who played No. 8 for the club, represented Japan in 45 internationals.

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