All Blacks star Richie Mo’unga not wanted by top Japanese club

One of Japan’s top clubs says they are not interested in continuing All the black people star Richie Mo’unga despite his desire to move to Japan after the World Cup next year.

In an interview with the Herald of New ZealandMo’unga revealed that he intends to leave New Zealand play in Japan Rugby League One for a period of two years from 2024.

Mo’unga’s revelation comes later the top five of 32 tests announced a one-year contract extension with New Zealand Rugby last weekwhich will keep him on Kiwi shores until the end of the 2023 World Cup.

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The 28-year-old’s comments will undoubtedly cause numerous League One clubs to move due to his five-time status. super rugby champion and three-time Super Rugby Player of the Year.

However, the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights are not one of those clubs, according to their general manager, Hitoshi Iijima.

speaking in the wake of Panasonic’s title-winning campaign in League OneIijima said Tuesday that Mo’unga’s availability is of no interest to the Wild Knights.

Already equipped with the services of veteran pivots Rikiya Matsuda Y Takuya YamasawaIijima made it clear that the Wild Knights are unlikely to pursue Mo’unga’s signature.

“We already have good first five-eighths, two outstanding first five-eighths, so unless Richie Mo’unga turns into a No. 8 beast or lockdown, we’re probably not interested,” Iijima said through an interpreter.

Matsuda has been a leading figure for Brave Blossoms since his international debut in 2016, having played four of his 29 Tests during Japan’s historic run to the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals.

Yamasawa, meanwhile, impressed en route to Panasonic’s 18-12 League One final victory over Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath on Sunday.

As such, Yamasawa earned a recall to the Brave Blossoms team for his upcoming tests against Uruguay and France, five years after he played the last of his three tests with Japan.

The presence of those two players leaves little room in the Wild Knights for Mo’unga, whose enthusiasm for playing in Japan any time soon may also be viewed unfavorably by Panasonic.

Iijima highlighted that the Wild Knights have a preference for players who are willing to commit to the club for a long period of time rather than just one or two years as Mo’unga plans.

“We tend to look for players who can commit to us long-term, who can be loyal to the team rather than short-term sabbaticals. We like players who are happy to commit to us for the long term,” Iijima said.

While the Wild Knights seem like an unlikely fate for Mo’unga, the crusaders pivot has hinted at a possible move to Suntory on a transfer that would see him follow in the footsteps of his All Blacks team-mates. beaden barrett and Damian McKenzie.

Barrett and McKenzie failed to win trophies during their respective one-season stints with Suntory, coming up short against Panasonic in the 2021 and 2022 finals.

That led Mo’unga to suggest to the Herald of New Zealand who was able to do what his two compatriots couldn’t and make Suntory champions of League One.

“You look at someone like D-Mac [McKenzie] who has been able to go there and be a big influence,” Mo’unga said.

“It’s pretty funny Baz [Barrett] He was there the year before and they lost in the final. D-Mac also lost in the final so maybe he can take Suntory better.”

Mo’unga is expected to start for the Crusaders on Friday. Pacific Super Rugby quarterfinals against Reds in Christchurch after missing last week’s game against the Queenslanders at Orangetheory Stadium due to injury.


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