Rugby

Ex-Japan captain Shigetaka Mori selected as JRFU president

Kyodo

The Japan Rugby Football Union on Saturday named former national team captain Shigetaka Mori the president of the sport’s governing body with less than three months to go until the country hosts the Rugby World Cup.

The 67-year-old Mori, a JRFU vice president, was selected as successor to Tadashi Okamura, 80, at the union’s executive board and council meetings in Tokyo.

“I am determined to lead the sport in Japan,” Mori said. “I hope the national team will move up one spot at a time in the world rankings, as Japanese rugby undergoes a baptism of fire at the professional level.

“I hope that in a few decades from now, the Japanese national team will compete for victory against powerhouses at a World Cup held again in Japan.”

Katsuyuki Kiyomiya, a former coach with Waseda University and Top League sides Suntory Sungoliath and Yamaha Jubilo, was among the two newly selected vice presidents, while men’s sevens coach Kensuke Iwabuchi became the new chairman.

“We have to work hard with the belief that what we do in the next year or two will decide the next 50 years of Japanese rugby,” Iwabuchi said.

The JRFU had been in turmoil since Honorary President Yoshiro Mori resigned in April in a call for urgent reforms within the governing body.

The new president, a former player with 27 caps for the national team, was the only previous JRFU vice president under the age of 70.

He began his corporate rugby career with the now-defunct Nippon Steel Corp. team in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, and helpe the team win seven consecutive national championships from 1979 to 1985.