Seiji Hirao

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Seiji Hirao
Date of birth(1963-01-21)21 January 1963
Place of birthKyoto, Japan
Date of death20 October 2016(2016-10-20) (aged 53)
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
SchoolFushimi Technical High School
UniversityDoshisha University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half, Center
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Fushimi Technical High School
Doshisha University
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1986-1998 Kobelco Steelers ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1982-1995  Japan 35 (18)
Teams coached
Years Team
Kobelco Steelers

Seiji Hirao (平尾誠二, 21 January 1963 – 20 October 2016) was a Japanese rugby union footballer and coach. He played as a fly-half, and was one of the most popular Japanese players of his time, earning the name of "Mr. Rugby".


Hirao first played rugby at Fushimi Kogyo, in Kyoto, who won the national high school title in 1980. He then moved to Doshisha University, where he won three national university titles. He graduated in 1985, moving to England, where he played a year for Richmond. Returning to Japan in 1986, he helped Kobelco Steelers to win seven consecutive National Championships, from 1989 to 1995.[2]

He had 35 caps for Japan, from 1982 to 1995, scoring 1 try, 5 conversions and 1 penalty, 18 points in aggregate. His first match was a 22-6 loss to New Zealand Universities national team, at 30 May 1982, aged only 19 years old. Hirao played at the 1987 Rugby World Cup, all the three matches. He also played at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, as the captain, again in all the three matches, and, after a three years and a half retirement, at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, playing two matches and scoring a try in the 50-28 loss to Ireland, at 31 May 1995. That would be his last cap for his National Team, aged 32 years old.

He was the coach of Japan, from 1997 to 2000, and led his National Team at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Japan was unfortunate, losing all the three matches but giving worthy performances. He then went on to coach Kobelco Steelers. He died on 20 October 2016 at the age of 53 after an illness.[3]


  1. ^ Seiji Hirao at Japon Rugby
  2. ^ "'Mr. Rugby' Hirao passes away at age 53". The Japan Times Online. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Rugby: Tributes paid as former Japan captain Hirao dies at 53". The Mainichi. 20 October 2016. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Japan Iwao Yamamoto
Japan National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by
JapanShogo Mukai