There are very, very few stars in World Rugby as big as George Gregan. And the player who has the most caps as Australian National Team captain will play for the next two years in Japan’s Top League for Tokyo’s Suntory Goliath.
Gregan joins the influx of players, most recently former Wallabies team-mate Stephen Larkham who joined the Ricoh Black Rams in the competition’s second division.
Post the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Gregan spent a year with French side Toulon, and is expected to land in Japan in August. The money must certainly be good playing in Japan, as Gregan was reportedly on E400,000 for his one season – so for him to leave Europe, the money must indeed be good at Tokyo. Gregan’s just the latest of top-flight antipodean players leaving their home shores for far off lands where the money flows more freely.
Gregan will be united with former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who has been under Suntory employ as a technical advisor for many a year now.
Suntory’s bound to be one of the stronger teams for the 2008/09 season – as last season they
won last year’s competition, defeating Sanyo Wild Knights 14-10. Adding a player of Gregan’s caliber will only strengthen them further, putting the pressure on other teams to step up, or risk falling further behind.
Suntory’s season kicks off on September 5th when they open with a a night game at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya Stadium against Sanyo Wild Knights.