Former Scotland captain Laidlaw signs for Japan's Shining Arcs

FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Scotland Training - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 15, 2019 Scotland's Greig Laidlaw during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

TOKYO (Reuters) - Former Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw will be playing for Japanese Top League side NTT Shining Arcs when the season begins next year, the Chiba-based club said on Monday.

Shining Arcs also announced the signing of Australian flanker Liam Gill and New Zealand hooker Anaru Rangi.

Scrumhalf Laidlaw won 76 test caps for Scotland during a career that saw him become the country’s second-highest points scorer with 714, behind only Chris Paterson (809).

He announced his international retirement following defeat to Japan at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“At last year’s Japan World Cup I was able to experience the culture and meet wonderful fans,” Laidlaw said in a statement.

“Every time I have visited Japan, I was welcomed with a wonderful hospitality.”

Laidlaw, Gill and Rangi join a host of top international players in Japan, headlined by New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett.

This year’s Top League was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the 2021 season scheduled to start in January.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford