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Nathan Hughes is off to Japan not France

By Chris Jones
Nathan Hughes of Bath Rugby during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and Bath Rugby at The Coventry Building Society Arena on February 12, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Former England No8 Nathan Hughes has opted to join the ever-increasing number of high profile players heading to Japan after turning down the chance to continue his career with Top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne.


Hughes, who made a major impact on the English game with Wasps, won 22 England caps and then decided to join Bristol Bears where his career stalled this season. He was loaned out to Hartpury in the Championship before Bath gave him the chance to recapture his form, including the ball carrying that made him such a handful. It saw him recalled to the Bristol squad.

A move to France then became his next option after it became clear he would not be staying at Bristol who have, like every other Premiership club, been forced to trim their playing staff to accommodate the reduced £5m salary cap.

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“I’m going to Japan,” he revealed to PRTV after Bears’ 42-19 defeat at Sale Sharks on the final day of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.

“(It is) closer to home, closer to the kids and I feel my time in the Premiership has come to an end. It’s been huge progress in my career, coming from New Zealand to where I am now. At 31, hopefully I can get a few games under my belt.”

Hughes made a two try contribution to his final appearance in the loss to Sale at the weekend where Bristol brought an end to a disappointing season with a 42-19 loss.

“It’s been a pleasure playing in the Premiership, one of the toughest competitions in the world. I’ve had nine years of playing in the Premiership and every game has been a tough one,” added Hughes.



“But I’ve loved every moment in my Wasps career and here (Bristol). Signing off with two tries, I’m gutted we didn’t get the win but it’s been a pleasure.”

Fiji born Hughes, who turns 31 on June 10, last played for England against Scotland in March 2019 and the three year gap means he could now opt to play for Fiji in next year’s Rugby World Cup if he wants to return to the test arena.


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RUGBYPASS+ Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam