June 28, 2019 / 8:25 AM / in 19 days

Japanese club apologise after players arrested on cocaine charges

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Top League club Toyota Verblitz have issued a public apology after two of their players were arrested for possession of cocaine in just over a week, Kyodo New reported.

Steven Yates, a former New Zealand sevens international, was arrested at his home in Nagoya on Thursday and admitted to possession of a small amount of cocaine, Kyodo reported.

Flyhalf Ryota Kabashima was arrested last week after cocaine was discovered in his wallet when he left it in a taxi in Toyota in April. He has denied the charge.

Toyota Verblitz, who have signed All Blacks captain Kieran Read for next year, suspended rugby operations after Kabashima’s arrest and withdrew from the Top League Cup.

“It is extremely regrettable that an athlete in the world of fair play has been arrested for antisocial behaviour,” the club said in a statement.

“We will continue to give our full cooperation to the police investigation and will deal with the club member strictly based on the status of the investigation.”

The club, coached by former Springboks boss Jake White, finished fourth in the Top League last season.

Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup for the first time later this year.

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, additional reporting by Chris Gallagher, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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