Atsushi Sakate rugby player
Atsushi Sakate rugby player

Atsushi Sakate

21st Jun 1993 1.80m/104kg Hooker

Atsushi Sakate, known as 坂手 淳史 (Sakate Atsushi), is a Japanese international rugby union player who specializes in the position of Hooker. He currently plays for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby and the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Sakate attended Teikyo University, renowned for its rugby program.

In 2016, after completing his studies, Sakate joined the Panasonic Wild Knights in the Top League and made 27 appearances over two seasons with the team. He quickly established himself as a formidable presence in the league and earned his test debut on 30 April 2016, contributing to Japan's resounding 85-0 victory over Korea in Kanagawa.

Sakate's impact continued to grow, and he scored a brace against Korea in a 60-3 win in Incheon on 21 May 2016, followed by another try in an 80-10 victory in Tokyo on 29 April 2017. In 2017, he joined the Sunwolves for the Super Rugby season, making five appearances in his debut season and a further 12 by the end of the 2019 season.

Throughout his test career, Sakate has mostly played as a backup to the experienced Shota Horie. He was selected for his first Rugby World Cup in 2019, which took place in Japan.

During the pool phase of the tournament, Sakate came off the bench against Russia and Scotland, started against Samoa, and was an unused substitute against Ireland. He also played as a replacement in Japan's historic first-ever Rugby World Cup quarter-final against South Africa.

By the end of the competition, Sakate had earned 21 test caps for Japan, scoring three tries. Known for his tenacity and physicality in the front row, Atsushi Sakate has made significant contributions to both his club and national teams throughout his career.

Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Sakate has been named in the training squad for Japan.



wild Saitama Wild Knights
2016 - present
Japan Japan
2017 - present
8KKGKgozQMoq-gUxAKoeXxyyKLDRbjLRMhXqdDRHI1o Sunwolves
2017 - 2022
Japan7s Japan XV
2023 - 2024