Hirotoki Onozawa

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Hirotoki Onozawa
Date of birth (1978-03-29) March 29, 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Shimada, Shizuoka, Japan
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 85 kg (13 st 5 lb)
University Chuo University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Wing, Fullback
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2000- Suntory Sungoliath
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2001- Japan 81 (275)
Sevens national teams
Years Club / team Comps
Japan

Hirotoki Onozawa (小野澤宏時) (born March 29, 1978 in Shimada, Shizuoka, Japan) is rugby union who plays at wing (and sometimes full back) Suntory Sungoliath and the Japan national rugby union team. He is nicknamed "the eel" for his sharp sidestepping ability. Onozawa is the joint most capped Japanese rugby player of all time, and is the fourth highest try scorer in international rugby and despite spending much of his career in the shadow of Daisuke Ohata he is considered an all time great of Japanese rugby in his own right.

Career[edit]

Onozawa made his debut for Japan against Wales in June 2001 and immediately impressed troubling the Welsh defence throughout and scored a try from 75 metres out from a move that he started himself. From there onwards he became a fixture in the Japan side.

He scored 8 tries in his first 7 caps playing as a full back, but in 2003 he started playing wing instead. He played at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in all of Japan's matches, and scored in his first match against Scotland[1] and his wing partnership with Daisuke Ohata at the tournament was noted as big threat .[2]

In the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Onozawa again played in all Japan's matches and notably scored a 70 metre individual try against Wales.[3] After retaining his place in the side after the tournament, Onozawa gradually kept increasing his try scoring record and by 2011 he entered the top 10 on the all time international try scoring list.

At the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Onozawa played in all Japan's matches for a third consecutive tournament, and also scored against New Zealand to become the 15th player to score in a three World Cups.[4]

Despite new coach Eddie Jones making big changes to the squad after John Kirwan resigned, Onozawa survived the post World Cup clearout to continue to play under his sixth Japan head coach. And 2012 proved to be one of his most successful years, he scored his 50th international try in May 2012 again Hong Kong to reach 4th highest on the all time try scoring list, and overall scored 10 tries in 8 matches, including tries in Japan's first ever wins away in Europe against Romania and Georgia in November.

Into his 12th year of his international career in 2013, Onozawa won his 80th cap against Fiji to become the most capped Japanese player of all time, overtaking centre Yukio Motoki's total of 79 caps.[5]

At domestic level, Onozawa has played his entire professional career with Suntory Sungoliath who he joined in 2000. He played and scored a try in their famous win over Wales in 2001, 2 weeks before his test debut.[6] Since the Top League was launched in 2003, Onozawa has been named in the Team of the Season at the end of season awards for all but two of the first 10 seasons.[7] He was the top try scorer in the league in 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons,[8][9] and in 2007/08 he was named the league's overall MVP for the season.[10] In October 2012 Onozawa became the first player to score 100 tries in the Top League.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]