11 Mar 2020
Profile: Shota Horie
DOB – 21/1/2020 (27 yrs.)
Born – Osaka
Height – 180cm
Weight – 104kg
Team – Panasonic Wild Nights, Rebels (Melbourne)
Position – Hooker
– What is Super Rugby?
It’s the largest and pre-eminent professional rugby union competition in the Southern Hemisphere, consisting of 15 teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. (Refer to: Wikipedia)
– What was the reason you started playing rugby?
I used to play soccer in primary school, but no one took it seriously so I stopped it. Once I stopped playing I gained a bit of weight, then a friend of my parents who played rugby recommended I try it, so that’s where it began.
– Why were you so drawn to rugby?
I guess because I could use the force of my body and relieve stress. At the time, I used to fight with my brother a lot, so I could release the stress from that through rugby. Also because it's a sport where I can utilise my body type. In grade 6 I weighed 77 kg and I was 175 cm tall.
– When did you decide that you wanted to play in Super Rugby?
I first watched Super Rugby when I was in high school, and from then I thought it would be great to compete in it. I always had the dream that I would make a name for myself through Super Rugby.
– Since coming here, what do think about the difference in level between here and Japan?
The level here does differ in some aspects, but I think that applies to the Japanese in some areas too. I don't think that really matters though. I don't think there is a difference in the technique. I think the big differences lie on a personal level, physical ability, and a feel for the game. There are a lot of people who know a lot about rugby.
– When you say ‘know a lot about rugby’, what exactly do you mean?
Things like during a match moving or running in certain ways, not wasting space on the field, having a feel or wits about themselves. In Japan, there may only be a few players among the 15 teams who are like this, but here 10 or all 15 members know these sorts of things.
– How can people ‘know about rugby’?
The more you practice and study rugby, the more experience and knowledge you will gain. I would also watch super rugby and study with that. Recently in Australia and New Zealand, the more and more children who are in contact with rugby, so it is becoming increasingly popular. The history of rugby in Japan is still quite small, so I think it is important for myself or Fumiaki Tanaka, New Zealand rugby player, for example to show ourselves playing at our best, in order to increase the knowledge of rugby. I also think children in schools playing rugby will see us, and think they may also have a chance of playing in Super Rugby. This will all help rugby become stronger in Japan.
– Do you feel any pressure as a pioneer?
I try not to think about it. Striving towards Super Rugby was a growing experience for myself, so the feeling of coming here and fulfilling that is stronger.
– What do you think are the strengths of Japanese people?
Skill, agility and fitness. Even though many of the other team mates are big and physically stronger, the Japanese can hitter lower, and have guts to get up and keep running even after being tackled.
– How can first-time watchers of rugby enjoy the game more?
It’s much better to watch rugby in person! Watching on the TV at home doesn't give you a sense a presence, and coming to watch the game gives you the opportunity to see bodies clashing with each other. Even if you don't understand the rules, you will soon learn them!
– What would you like people to notice about you?
While my body is smaller than the other players, I’m training just as hard, and I want people to see that as a Japanese person I’m doing my best.
– Final comment for Japan in Melbourne readers?
Please come to a game and support the Rebels!
Future Rebels game schedule
08 Mar 7:30 pm Rebels vs. Reds
13 Apr 7:30 pm Rebels vs. Southern Kings
03 May 7:30 pm Rebels vs. Chiefs
17 May 7:30 pm Rebels vs. Stormers
24 May 7:30 pm Rebels vs. Waratahs
12 Jul 7:30 pm Rebels vs. H'landers
Interviewer: Iwao Sasaki
Photography: Takuya Yumoto
Translation: Adam Feldman