2012 Inductee: Yoshihiro Sakata
IRB Hall of Fame – Inductee No.51 – Yoshihiro 'Demi' Sakata (Japan)
Demi Sakata was born in 1942. He started playing rugby at High School and went to Doshisha University, at the time the leading rugby nursery in Japan. In 1967 in his second year at University he won the first of his 16 caps against NZ Universities.
A right wing, he became a regular feature in the Japanese team at the end of the 1960s and scored 13 tries in his six-year Test career, four of those in a memorable international against New Zealand Juniors in 1968.
He was voted one of the five best players in the world (together with Jo Maso and Walter Spanghero of France and Sid Going and W Cottrell of New Zealand) by the NZ Rugby Almanac and was invited to play for Canterbury the following season.
During that season he was also selected for NZ Universities and played for NZ Barbarians. He retired from the national team in 1973 and carried on as coach of Osaka University, where he is the Head of the Sports Science department and leads the research in artificial pitches for rugby.
A full profile will appear in due course.