Japan: Yuka Kanematsu

Sevens ace aims for cultural change through Gallagher High Performance Academy programme

Yuka Kanematsu believes that the Gallagher High Performance Academy has a wider reach than just rugby.

Having been a regular in Japan’s Women’s Sevens team as a player, Kanematsu is now using her experience to develop the next generation of players, as assistant coach of the national sevens side and head coach of both Japan’s Women’s Under-18s Sevens and women’s Sevens Youth Academy.

Her participation in the Gallagher High Performance Academy will give Kanematsu the opportunity to exchange ideas with other high performance coaches from across the rugby world, but she believes that the programme can have a much broader and significant impact.

“Sport is a mirror of society and if sport changes, society may change,” Kanematsu told World Rugby.

“Therefore, the active role of women in rugby, which has long been regarded as a men’s sport, has the potential to expand the field of activity for people who have been excluded in society.”

Kanematsu’s involvement in rugby started as a five-year-old, with the Ichinomiya club, where she played for seven years before a 16-year stint with Nagoya Ladies. During this time she represented her country and helped Japan win the women’s Rugby World Cup Asian qualifier in 2008, and reach the final of the 2015 Hong Kong Sevens.

“I hope that my participation in the Gallagher High Performance Academy will help me to discover clues to establishing a world-beating Japan Sevens team,” she said.

“Building a culture starts with acknowledging each other’s differences, so culture-building is very important in sevens, where each individual makes the most of his or her differences.”

Last updated: Feb 22, 2024, 2:17:19 PM