Statue of Michael Leitch donated to Sapporo Yamanote Sr. High School

Jan 30, 2020
Yamanote Statue

A life-size statue of Michael was donated to Sapporo Yamanote Sr. High School, his alma mater in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, on Jan. 16.

Mikio Sato, coach of the school's rugby team, had promised Leitch when he was at the school that he "would erect a bronze statue if you were selected as a member of the Japan national team." Leitch subsequently debuted as part of the national squad when he was a second-year university student. Sato then upped the ante and vowed to set up the statue if Leitch went on to become the national team captain.

The 31-year-old star flanker more than lived up to his former manager's expectations, sweeping Japan into the best eight in the World Cup in the fall of 2019 as team captain.

"I couldn't build a statue for him, but instead was presented with one. I hope the statue will inspire and encourage many people who see it," Sato said.

The statue will be on display inside the school building during the winter, and come spring, will be set up under a cherry tree in the playground so rugby team members can see it while practicing.