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Chiefs utility Horrell to play his rugby in Japan

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Chiefs utility back Andrew Horrell has agreed to leave New Zealand and play his rugby in Japan after the current Super Rugby season.

The utility back has signed a two year contract with the Coca-Cola Red Sparks in Fukoka which starts later this year.

The twenty-seven-year-old says that he does not know whether he will return to Super Rugby.

Horrell said that the appeal of playing in a new country and culture, the appeal of the yen and the shorter season all contributed to his signing.

The back liner joined the Chiefs in 2012 when Dave Rennie joined the franchise and has played 54 matches for the Hamilton franchise.

Horrell has played in several positions in the Chiefs back line and has been moved around to fill in when the team has suffered injury setbacks.

His favoured position is in the midfield but Charlie Ngatai, Anton Lienert-Brown and Seta Tamanivalu appear to have locked those positions down so Horrell is finding it harder to get game time.

“I made a decision that it was time for a bit of a change,” Horrell told Stuff.

“Obviously (there’s) a few Japanese boys here, with Yama (Hiroshi Yamashita) and Leitchy (Michael Leitch), and they’ve been giving me the run down, and I’m really excited about it.”

The Japanese season runs from November to December and has playoffs in January which is why Horrell found the off attractive. .

He does however admit that learning a whole new language “a bit daunting” but that he is looking forward to to the extended downtime from playing.

“They get three or four months off, so that’s probably a little bit key for me, with my body, I’ve had a few issues in the past, so hopefully I can get all those things right, and hopefully it might help my longevity.”

Speaking about one day returning to Super Rugby Horrell said, “I can’t really answer that, at this stage I’m not too sure,”

“But obviously it’d be great to come back. I haven’t really thought about it, but at this stage (I’m) just looking one year at a time, really, and we’ll go from there.”

“I think the main thing is just to get my body right and hopefully play some good footy for Coca-Cola, and if that ends up being a lengthy time I play for Coca-Cola then so be it.”

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