Newsletter

Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

LIVE

    Ex-Kings centre eyes Test rugby for Japan

    2017-03-17 17:05

    Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co.za

    Cape Town - Former Southern Kings and EP centre Shane Gates has embraced life in Japan following his first season in the Far East.

    Gates was identified as an exciting upcoming talent from the Eastern Cape at a young age. After playing for the EP U18 Craven Week and U19 teams during his matric year, the Muir College old boy found himself in the senior squads at the Kings during his first season of professional rugby.

    After six seasons at the PE-based union, which included many ups and downs, Gates decided to look abroad for opportunities, where he landed a deal with Japanese club the Shining Arcs.

    “With the unsettled scenario of events, I realised that I needed to make the most of every opportunity during my rugby career. It’s disappointing to have experienced certain things at the Kings, especially seeing some of my team-mates and friends suffer due to circumstances that were out of their hands. It made me realise that life as rugby player is very short, so I decided to go to Japan for better opportunities,” Gates told MyPlayers.

    “The Japanese people were very accommodating. Yes, the language barrier is a bit tough, but their friendliness and helpfulness definitely make up for it. Off the field, I get to experience a new culture, and my girlfriend and I get to travel a lot more, which we didn’t get to do before. Being based in Tokyo has been awesome.

    “On the field, I’ve learned a lot. I work with coaches like Rob Penney, who was head coach at Munster, and Hugh Reece-Edwards, who coached at the Sharks. The Japanese game is very fast-paced. Yes, there are mistakes, but that’s because they try to give the ball a lot of air. I’m working really hard on my skills and kicking game. As a centre, I want to play as a second flyhalf in the backline.”

    In the Shining Arcs squad, Gates found himself among two other South Africans in flank Willie Britz and flyhalf Elton Jantjies. Gates said both players offered value during his first season in Japan.

    “Willie was like my big brother during the season. Having played there before, he taught me a lot on and off the field, which was great. It’s great to see him in the Sunwolves squad and I hope they enjoy some success during the Super Rugby season,” said Gates.

    “I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Elton because of his Springbok duty, but I made the most of his experience when he was around. I know Elton had a long season, having played a full season of Super Rugby and Test rugby for the Boks. However, it was great to see the club’s approach to his well-being. When he returned from international duty, he was rested for two weeks before he played his first game.

    “I know it’s tough for South African players to balance their careers back home and in Japan, but I know the clubs do what they can to take the players’ best interests at heart.”

    With the Japanese domestic season ending in January, Gates is currently spending some off time with family and friends back home in Port Elizabeth. He will return to Japan in May, where he hopes to achieve bigger goals.

    “I was invited to join the Sunwolves squad for Super Rugby this season, but I knew my body needed a rest. I played Super Rugby for the Kings last year and went straight into the Japanese season, so another seven months of rugby would’ve been bad for the body,” said Gates.

    “I’m off until May, which is very long. It’s not something I’m used to, but I look forward to making the most of my opportunities next year. I want to do well for my club and hopefully play my way into the Sunwolves squad for the next Super Rugby season. I’ve also had talks about playing Test rugby for Japan, which is very exciting. I love the country and it’s definitely something I would consider.

    “I wouldn’t turn my back on South Africa, especially if an exciting offer comes my way, but like I said, a rugby player’s career is very short so I want to make the most of every opportunity.”

    For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za


    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    24 March 2017
    • Crusaders v Force, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Waratahs, AAMI Park 10:45
    25 March 2017
    • Blues v Bulls, QBE Stadium 08:35
    • Brumbies v Highlanders, GIO Stadium 10:45
    • Sunwolves v Stormers, Singapore National Stadium 12:55
    • Kings v Lions, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:05
    • Cheetahs v Sharks, Toyota Stadium 17:15
    • Jaguares v Reds, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    31 March 2017
    • Highlanders v Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35

    Results

    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017
    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Of the current crop of rugby commentators - across all languages - who is your favourite?

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.