Seiji Hirao, Japanese rugby union player and coach, Died at 53


Seiji Hirao was born on January 21, 1963, and died on October 20, 2016.

He was a Japanese rugby union footballer and coach.

Seiji Hirao played as a fly-half, and was one of the most popular Japanese players of his time, earning the name of “Mr. Rugby”.

He first played rugby at Fushimi Kogyo, in Kyoto, who won the national high school title in 1980.

Then, he moved to Doshisha University, where he won three national university titles.

Seiji Hirao graduated in 1985, moving to England, where he played a year for Richmond.

After returning to Japan in 1986, he helped Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers to win seven consecutive National Championships, from 1989 to 1995.

Seiji Hirao was the coach of Japan, from 1997 to 2000, and led his National Team at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Unfortunate for Japan, losing all the three matches but giving worthy performances.

Seiji Hirao passed away at 53 years old.