With right attitude, Japan can go all the way at Rugby World Cup, says Leitch

Jun 16, 2023

During the Rugby World Cup held in Japan in 2019, whenever Japan captain Michael Leitch got the ball and made a break, a huge roar of “Leitch! Leitch!” would often go up from the crowd.

Japanese rugby fans seem to have fallen in love with the New Zealand-born star and he with them.

“It was incredible hearing fans in a stadium chant my name. I have really enjoyed the fans’ support in Japan, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen in France,” he says, referring to the upcoming World Cup which begins in September.

20230616 Mgl

Half-Kiwi, half-Fijian, Leitch, 34, was raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2004, at the age of 15, he took part in his school’s exchange program to study at Sapporo Yamanote High School where he became fluent in Japanese and began his rugby career.

While still a student at Tokai University, Leitch debuted for the Japanese national team in 2008 at the age of 20. He joined Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus in 2011 and was captain of the Brave Blossoms (the nickname for Japan’s team) at the 2019 World Cup.

Japan Today