Rugby

Lyon signs winger Akihito Yamada on loan as Rugby World Cup cover

AFP-JIJI

While international teams are in Japan for the Rugby World Cup, winger Akihito Yamada will be heading to France, Top 14 club Lyon announced on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old winger, capped 25 times by the Brave Blossoms, failed to make the host’s World Cup squad.

Lyon tweeted that his arrival “symbolized” a “historic partnership just signed with Japanese club NTT Communications Shining Arcs.”

The Top 14 will kick off its season without World Cup players on Aug. 24 and will have completed eight rounds of matches by the time the competition in Japan ends on Nov. 3.

Yamada will “share the life” of the Lyon squad from Aug. 7, “in order to learn (their) working methods” and “be prepared in case he is called into the team.”

Yamada has played for the Top League’s Panasonic Wild Knights since 2010. He spent a season with Perth-based Western Force, without playing a game, and has also played for the Sunwolves, Japan’s Super Rugby franchise.