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Christian Loamanu (born 13 May 1986) in Tatakamotonga, Tonga is a Tongan-born Japanese rugby union player who plays at wing but can also play centre and fullback

Christian Loamanu
Christian Loamanu and Ben Youngs.jpg
Date of birth (1986-05-13) 13 May 1986 (age 33)
Place of birthTatakamotonga, Tonga
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight112 kg (17 st 9 lb)
SchoolShochi Fukaya High School
UniversitySaitama Institute of Technology
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre, Fullback
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008–2009
2009–2012
2012–2014
2014–2016
2016–2017
Toshiba Brave Lupus
Toulon
Benetton Treviso
Leicester Tigers
Provence
11
51
17
7
10
(60)
(80)
(25)
(0)
(15)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2005–2008 Japan 16 (25)

Loamanu's grandfather Tevita Sitanilei played scrum half for the Tongan national rugby union team, whilst his brother Sitani has played for the Tongan national rugby league team.[1][2] Loamanu left his native Tonga at the age of 15 to move to Japan on a scholarship. He made his debut for the Japan national rugby union team against Uruguay in April 2005 aged 18 years and 338 days old and became the youngest player of all time to play for Japan (a record since broken by Yoshikazu Fujita).[3][4] A few days after his second cap against Hong Kong, Loamanu was banned for a year from the Japan team after getting embroiled in a fight involving female professional wrestler Mika Akino in Tokyo's Roppongi nightspot district.[5][6]

He was recalled in 2007 and scored a hat trick on his return to the side against Korea and he played at the Rugby World Cup later that year.

He joined Toshiba Brave Lupus in 2008 and won the Top League with them, but in February 2009 Loamanu tested positive for marijuana and was banned for life from playing rugby in Japan by the JRFU whilst his club Toshiba Brave Lupus withdrew from the All Japan Championship after the incident.[6][7][8][9] In 2011 Japan coach John Kirwan appealed for the ban to be withdrawn before the Rugby World Cup but the request was turned down by the JRFU who said Loamanu "was not suitable to represent Japan".[10][11]

After being exiled from Japanese rugby, Loamanu moved to Toulon for the 2009/10 season and spent three seasons there.[12] He was released in 2012, and he joined Benetton Treviso after his former coach John Kirwan suggested the move.[1]

In May 2014, Loamanu has signed for English club Leicester Tigers where he will compete in the Aviva Premiership from the 2014-15 season.[13] The Japanese Rugby Union decided to lift his indefinite ban in November 2014.[14]

On 22 June 2016, Loamanu returned to France as he signed for Provence, competing in the Pro D2 from the 2016-17 season.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Loamanu the new Williams?". Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Tevita Sitanilei".
  3. ^ "Loamanu shines in historic debut for Japan".
  4. ^ "Japan / Youngest appearance". Archived from the original on 9 November 2013.
  5. ^ "トンガの恥はニポンの恥".
  6. ^ a b "Kirwan slams doped-up Loamanu".
  7. ^ "東芝ブレイブルーパス、クリスチャン・ロアマヌ選手のドーピング違反に対する処分について".
  8. ^ "Loamanu suspended for using pot".
  9. ^ "Sanyo captures national rugby championship with win over Suntory".
  10. ^ "Rugby: Kirwan wants banned player". The New Zealand Herald. 9 February 2011.
  11. ^ "Japan reject Kirwan's plea for Loamanu".
  12. ^ "Toulon Christian Loamanu à bon port".
  13. ^ "Leicester Tigers sign Japanese versatile back Christian Loamanu from Benetton Treviso". BBC Sport. 21 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Loamanu Has JRFU Ban Lifted". rugbynewsjapan.com. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Former Japan versatile back Christian Loamanu signs for second division French club Provence". Le Rugby Nistere.fr. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.

External linksEdit