Craig Wing to play for Japan
March 29, 2013
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Former Australia rugby league international Craig Wing is in line to play rugby union for Japan, News Limited Rugby Gold has reported.
Japan coach Eddie Jones, formerly coach of the Brumbies and Australia, and a technical advisor to Jake White during South Africa's IRB Rugby World Cup 2007-winning campaign, named Wing in his squad as soon as the player had qualified for the Cherry Blossoms via the three-year residency rule.
Wing is expected to play for Japan in the Asian Five Nations tournament in May, having previously spoken of his desire to play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
"With a union background, I guess I always grew up dreaming it would be the Wallabies," Wing told Rugby Gold during an off-season break in Australia. "But I think that boat sailed, so this is the next best thing. It's something very special and I'm looking forward to playing under Eddie for Japan."
Wing had previously rejected overtures to play for the Philippines, for whom he is eligible to play as his mother is Filipino.
Wing, 33, says he remains open to the idea of returning to the NRL, but reports that he might join Penrith Panthers this season, as a replacement for injured five-eighth Lachlan Coote, seem wide of the mark. Fairfax Media reported Wing's manager, Wayne Beavis, as saying the player had a Japanese rugby union contract that precluded him playing NRL between seasons. ''He is not Sonny Bill Williams,'' Beavis told Fairfax.
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