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Rugby: Brave Blossoms star Matsushima plans return to Japan

Kotaro Matsushima. (Kyodo)

PARIS (Kyodo) -- Brave Blossoms star Kotaro Matsushima has indicated he intends to return to Japan and play for a League One club next season.

    In an online interview Wednesday, the 29-year-old outside back said he had effectively decided to return after his contract with French top-flight side Clermont expires at the end of the season.

    "It isn't final yet, but I've pretty much made up my mind," Matsushima said.

    Clermont have sought to re-sign the 2019 Rugby World Cup standout, but Matsushima has told the club he wants to go back to Japan for family reasons, after getting married and having his first child.

    Matushima, who moved from Japanese side Suntory (now Tokyo Sungoliath) to Clermont in 2020, said the past two seasons abroad had helped him develop his game.

    "I was simply able to grow as a player," he said.

    Having dislocated his shoulder in early April, Matsushima is aiming to be back on the pitch in time for Japan's international test matches in June and July.

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