Ryuichi Nagayama is Fuwaku Rugby Club’s oldest active member. Nagayama plays in the front row for the men's over-40 veteran's team. Many of his teammates are in their 70’s and 80’s and still play competitively. At 90 years old most would be content to take it easy at home and in the garden. This is not the life for Nagayama or his teammates as the veteran points out, ‘The members of the club lack the mentality to take life easy’.
As a practicing doctor, Nagayama knows all too well the dangers posed by rugby ‘Since I joined Fuwaku Club, I have broken ribs many times and broke my collarbone too’ but this has never stopped him from continuing with the sport he loves ‘I have never imagined a life without rugby. Furthermore, without rugby what would I become?’
Even since Nagayama’s wife passed, rugby has taken on even greater importance. Now it’s what he lives for. And for the rest of his team, rugby isn’t just an excuse for a run about in the park. It’s something to be taken very seriously. As Nagayama says ‘Rugby brings life to all of us’, and he plans to continue playing until he physically can’t.
“I just love playing. I don’t let my arm hold me back in any way.”
DEFENDERS OF TOMORROW
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