Players going to Japan

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Jul 31, 2020, 16:16

The following from news24:-

Rugby World Cup-winners Ben SmithAaron Cruden and Franco Mostert are all headed to Japan, their new clubs announced on Friday, as the Top League continued to snap up stars despite the coronavirus.

Former All Blacks Smith and Cruden will play for Kobe Steelers while Mostert, who lifted the World Cup last year with South Africa, is on his way to Honda Heat.

Japan's well-heeled Top League, where teams are backed by major corporations, has been cancelled for 2020 because of the pandemic, with the new arrivals set to debut next year.

Fullback Smith, 34, who has 84 caps, was signed from France's Pau, while flyhalf Cruden, 31, joins from the Chiefs. Both have won the World Cup with New Zealand.

"I am incredibly competitive and still feel like I have lots to offer," Smith said in a statement.

"I am hopeful that I can help the Steelers add to their impressive trophy cabinet," he added.

For second-row Mostert, who'll be joined at the Heat by fellow South African and Stormers flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, the move is a return to Japan after he played there between 2016 and 2018.

The above shows an interesting angle  -  World Cup winners are supposed to be great acquisitions by NH Clubs.    Of the three Ben Smith was superstar quality - Cruden nd Mostert were dead average players on test elvel that in key games could not make the starting line-ups in the WC.  

However ben is getting older and definitely not the player he used to be, while the other two was not really considered as good investments by their clubs.  Sio they just did no renew the contracts when those expired.     

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