Japan winger Kentaro Kodama joins Melbourne Rebels

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Japan winger Kentaro Kodama has signed to play for the Melbourne Rebels in the 2017 Super Rugby competition.

The 24-year-old Kodama, who played for the Japan-based Sunwolves in their debut season last year, has agreed a one-year contract. He will play alongside Japan teammate Amanaki Mafi at the Rebels who open their Super Rugby season against the Blues on Feb. 23.

Rebels general manager Baden Stephenson said Kentaro is "a rising star of Japanese rugby. His speed and nouse for scoring tries will add depth to the backline."

Kodama will likely play for the Rebels at the Brisbane Tens tournament next month.

He said he is "so grateful for this opportunity with Melbourne Rebels. I look forward to learning from the world's best players and taking part in a game."

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