Springbok Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith has turned down offers from a number of South African teams and agreed to a new deal with Japan-based club Yamaha Jubilo.
According to Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, the 27-year-old had been in talks with both the Lions and Sharks but eventually opted to extend his Japanese contract by two years.
The newspaper reported that Smith will fly to Japan later this month to play for Yamaha Jubilo in training matches ahead of the Top League season.
Kwagga Smith has been plying his trade in Japan since 2018.
“I am very happy at the club,” Smith told Rapport.
“It has been a very uncertain time for the sports industry. Nobody knew what was going to happen with rugby here [in South Africa].
“However, due to the [initial chaos because of Covid-19] falling right in Japan’s off-season, you knew their Top League season would resume in December or January,”
The former Lions flank, who has played six Tests, remains eligible for Springbok selections.
“It’s a big advantage to play overseas and be granted permission to play for the Springboks,” Smith said.
“My goal is to play against the British & Irish Lions next year. It’s my big dream and I’ve placed all my focus on that. I’ll be working hard to achieve it.”
An unusually small backrow (5’11, 95kg), Smith was named in South Africa’s squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He played two matches, namely against Namibia and Canada in the pool stage, starting both at openside flanker.
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