MyPlayers chats to former Cheetahs and Lions loose forward Willie Britz about life in Japan.
MyPlayers: Why the decision to play abroad?
Willie Britz: There were many reasons that motivated me. I get to help improve rugby in another country and I get to see another part of the world. Rugby careers are short, so playing in Japan gives me the chance to make the most of it!
MyPlayers: How did you settle in?
Willie Britz: I’ve always been quick to adapt. When I was young, we moved around a lot, so I’m used to new environments. I’m also open to learning about new cultures.
MyPlayers: How are you enjoying your rugby?
Willie Britz: I’m loving every minute! The league is very competitive and the pace of the game is quick. I’ve managed to make a number of good friends and there are many familiar faces, especially with so many South Africans making the move to the Far East.
MyPlayers: What are the major culture shocks?
Willie Britz: The food can be very interesting! However, I’m enjoying the traditional Japanese cuisine. The weather is also very extreme. It gets very humid during summer and very cold during winter. I’m still trying to get used to the snow!
MyPlayers: What are the major differences compared to professional rugby in South Africa?
Willie Britz: The Japanese people have so much pride in everything they do. They always strive to be the best. So that’s helping them grow rugby exceptionally fast. I believe their level of rugby will be one of the stronger forces in the world in the near future!
MyPlayers: Any funny experiences?
Willie Britz: Every day is a great and funny experience, especially when you try and have a conversation with someone who does not speak English. Body language and hand signs become very effective and interesting.
MyPlayers: Any advice to South African players headed to Japan?
Willie Britz: Come and enjoy the culture. Be willing to go out your way to work hard and improve the players around you too. Japan is an amazing country and culture is something to experience. I have no regrets coming here.
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