September 12, 2019 / 6:53 AM / 4 days ago

Foley to join Japan's Kubota Spears after World Cup

TOKYO (Reuters) - Australia flyhalf Bernard Foley will join Japanese Top League side Kubota Spears after the World Cup, the club announced on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - 2018 Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - August 25, 2018 - Australia's Bernard Foley is tackled. REUTERS/Ross Setford

Foley, who is in Japan with the Australian squad ahead of the World Cup later this month, will link up with the Chiba-based Spears in time for the 2019 season that begins in January.

It will be his second stint playing in Japan having previously featured for the Ricoh Black Rams from 2015-2016.

“I am very happy that I am joining Kubota Spears,” Foley said in a statement released Thursday.

“Kubota Spears is a team which not only has been getting good results but also is full of enthusiasm to be better and stronger.”

“I appreciate that I was given an opportunity to play in Japan again.”

“Rugby is becoming popular in Japan and I think the level of the Top League is the highest ever.”

The Spears have never won Japan’s premier rugby competition and finished seventh last season.

Foley is the latest big name to announce he is staying in Japan after the World Cup.

Compatriots Will Genia, Quade Cooper and David Pocock will also feature in Japan’s domestic competitions next season, along with New Zealand captain Kieran Read and South African number eight Duane Vermeulen.

Foley is part of Michael Cheika’s World Cup squad who are hoping to win Australia’s third title and first since 1999.

They begin their campaign against Fiji on Sept. 21.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; additional reporting by Yoko Kono; editing by Ian Ransom

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