Takashi Omoto (2nd year, College Economics) and Renji Oike (2nd year, College of Sport and Health Science) of the Ritsumeikan University Rugby Club have been selected to represent Japan in the World Rugby U20 Championship to be held in South Africa from Saturday, June 24 to Friday, July 14.
This championship will determine the world's best under-20 national team. This will be the first time in four years that the championship has been held having been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, 12 teams will participate, and the Japan U20 National Team is scheduled to play against France, Wales, and New Zealand.
Omoto, who plays hooker (HO), is a highly physical player with strong tackling skills. He has played in matches ever since his freshman year. In his second and third years at Josho Gakuen High School, he participated in the Japan High School Rugby Championship, and he was floated as a candidate for the Japanese high school national team and the U20 national team.
Oike is a winger (WTB) who has been an ace at his position since his first year, making the most of his agile legs to break tackles. He was the assistant captain of his high school rugby team at Osaka Gyosei High School (which is affiliated with Tokai University) and led his team victory at the Japan High School Sevens Tournament Cup, for which he was also named MVP.
Both players were selected for the U20 Japan National Team (Young Brave Blossoms) after attending three selection camps and exhibition matches held since January 2023.
Be sure to show your enthusiastic support for Omoto and Oike, who are expected to excel in South Africa.
Comment from Takashi Omoto (2nd year, College of Economics)
I have been selected to represent Japan as a member of the U20 Rugby Team and will compete at the championship in South Africa. It is a lot of pressure to represent Japan, which is something I have never experienced before as a rugby player, and we will be facing off against some very strong players from rugby powerhouses. We have spent about five months in training camps preparing to win against these tough opponents, and we will harness this hard work to win the championship. Please be sure to show your support for us.
Comment from Renji Oike (2nd year, College of Sport and Health Science)
I have been selected to represent Japan as a member of the U20 Rugby Team and will participate in the U20 Championship in South Africa. I have been working toward my goal of becoming a member of the U20 team since before coming to Ritsumeikan. I am overjoyed to be able to compete against the best rugby players from all over the world. I am grateful for all the support I have received as I prepare to head to the championship, and we will do our best as a team. Our first matches will be against France, Wales, and New Zealand, all of which are rugby powerhouses, but we are determined to win. I look forward to your support.