Honda Heat have announced four big-name signings with South African trio Franco Mostert, Matthys Basson, Jean-Luc du Plessis and Blues full-back Matt Duffie all heading to Japan. The announcement comes just hours after the Kobelco Steelers confirmed the signatures of All Blacks Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden.

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World Cup winner Mostert, who joins from Gloucester, already has experience of playing in Japan under his belt having represented the Ricoh Black Rams between 2016 and 2018. The 39-cap Springbok has also played for the Lions and Blue Bulls.

Bason joins the Heat from the Bulls while du Plessis, a former South Africa Under-20 international, ends a four-year stay with the Stormers.

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“I was impressed by Honda Heat’s ambition to continue to grow,” said Mostert, 29.

“Now I’m really looking forward to joining the team. I have always enjoyed and had a great time in Japan, including winning the World Cup last year.

“I love Japanese culture and people. I look forward to this challenge.”

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The news continues the influx of top-class talent to the Japanese Top League.

New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett recently signed a one-year deal with Suntory Sungoliath, while South Africa’s Malcolm Marx, England’s George Kruis and Wales’ Hadleigh Parkes are also confirmed to be moving to Japan.

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