Japan's Fumiaki Tanaka is set to become the first player from his country to compete in the Super Rugby competition next season when he turns out for the Highlanders.

Tanaka's Panasonic Wild Knights club said yesterday the 27-year-old halfback would be joining the New Zealand team in 2013.

"I feel so honoured to be becoming Japan's first Super Rugby player," said Tanaka, who impressed for Otago in the just-ended ITM Cup campaign.

"I hope to improve at the higher levels of rugby and bring those skills back to Panasonic.

"I want to play as many games as possible and show the world what Japanese rugby players are capable of. I want to believe there's nothing I can't accomplish."

Highlanders Head Coach Jamie Joseph commented that Tanaka has played very well in the ITM Cup for Otago and he is a good fit for the Highlanders.

"Fumiaki is a very skilful player and his form this season for Otago has been very good.  He is the type of player that will fit well with our game-plan for next season" commented Joseph

Highlanders General Manager Roger Clark was pleased with the inclusion of Tanaka in the Highlanders 2013 Squad.

"We've got a well-rounded squad for next season and with the final squad announcement on Wednesday, it's great to get a talented player like Fumiaki signed" commented Clark .

Fumiaki Tanaka will join the Highlanders in the New Year following the conclusion of the Japanese Top League. 


SupeRugby logo header speights min 2 Degrees logo v2 University of Otago logo Swanndri placemakers new logo banner 104 Adidas Logo Small min