Sunwolves assistant coach Naoya Okubo will become the first Japanese head coach in Super Rugby history when he takes over the franchise for next season, the Tokyo-based team said Friday.
The 43-year-old Okubo, a former director of rugby for the Japan Rugby Top League’s Suntory Sungoliath, has been an assistant with the Sunwolves the past two seasons and will now run the team in its final Super Rugby campaign.
“The Sunwolves in the 2020 season need to bring the game forward in Japan after the World Cup. I am proud to receive an opportunity to be involved at such an important time,” he said in a statement.
Okubo, capped 23 times by Japan, guided Suntory for three seasons from 2012, and led the club to back-to-back Top League championships.
Guided this past season by Tony Brown, the Sunwolves finished last in the 15-team league with just two wins.