Japanese Tight Head prop heads to Kingston Park.
Newcastle Falcons have added further international class to the playing squad after signing Japanese tighthead prop Kensuke Hatakeyama from Suntory Sungoliath for the remainder of the season.
A member of the Japanese team that thrilled at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the 30 year old who hails from Kesennuma in Myagi prefecture brings a wealth of international experience with 72 caps for Japan since 2008.
That experience includes four caps at last autumn’s World Cup, where he featured in all four of the Cherry Blossoms pool games, including the famous win over South Africa on the opening weekend.
In the domestic Top League, Kensuke has made 74 appearances for Suntory playing alongside greats of the game including Schalk Burger, George Gregan and George Smith.
During his time with the Tokyo based side, he has been an integral part of the squad that has won the All Japan Championship title twice, and the Top League Championship in 2011-12.
Speaking on Kensuke’s signing, Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards said: “We are delighted to announce Hatakeyama's signing. He is a very talented player who is a strong scrummager and showed just what he is capable of during the World Cup.”
“He showed very well against the strong packs of South Africa, Samoa and Scotland and he will help us ensure that there are no ill effects in our pack with Jon Welsh’s injury.”
Hatakeyama Kensuke said of his move: " I am honoured & privileged to come to such a well known club in the best league in the world. I hope to make a big impact representing myself & Japanese rugby."