Lock Hitoshi Ono, the most capped Japan international of all time with 98 caps, will retire from rugby at the age of 42.
Ono, who was part of Eddie Jones’ Japan side that historically beat
South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, made his final appearance for
the Brave Blossoms against Scotland in June 2016, falling just two caps
short of reaching a century.
His cub Toshiba Brave Lupus announced his retirement following 19
years with the Top League club, during which he won four titles. He also
made 12 appearances in Super Rugby for the Sunwolves.
This year’s season of Top League, Japan’s main domestic competition, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ono, who was nicknamed the ‘Iron Man’, made his debut in 2004 against
South Korea before featuring at three World Cups for Japan.
Some of Japan’s 2019 World Cup squad are trying to chase Ono’s
record, including Toshiba team mate Michael Leitch who has 68 caps and
scrumhalf Fumiaka Tanaka who has 75