Japan's Sadayoshi Morita
As of 2 December 2005, the World's Oldest Active Rugger!
WONG: 90 year old, Sadayoshi Morita has become the oldest rugby player in the world. Morita has been in training for rugby matches at least three times a week for the past 70 years. The Japanese man turned 90 early in November, was recognised by the Senior World Rugby Championship as the world's oldest practicing rugby player.
STORY: The 90-year-old Japanese man, originally from the southern island of Kyushu, has been playing rugby for most of his life, barring the three years he was conscripted by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two.
He hopes to play for sometime longer, but admits it's not getting any easier.
He said, "It is extraordinary tough for 90-year old guy to run at top speed. But you must get over it to enjoy playing rugby. If it weren't for the sprints in this game, I would be able to play rugby until I was 110 years old,"
Morita still walks for over two hours at at time, four times a week to tone his muscles. Morita discovered rugby at the age of 19 at a local match in Fukuoka prefecture. Fascinated by the sport - which was then still very new in Japan in 1934, he joined the rugby team of his university.
Morita played for his company's rugby team after that and lead the Yahata Steel team to three straight championships in Japan's Industrial League from 1950 to 1952.
At 39, he retired from the team but could not abandon the game for long and joined a league for over 40s. At the age of 80, he returned to the rugby field even after falling out of a tree -- an accident which left him wheelchair-bound for three months.
Morita, clad in the Japanese National Rugby uniform, told Reuters on the side-line of a Senior Championship tournament in his home town of Fukuoka, "The secret is to play a lot of sports and eat alot, that is the secret of my fine playing,"
Morita has no plan to quit his favorite sport until he is at least 95-years old.
Then, he says, he will concentrate on his second most favorite sport, golf -- because that does not require him to run at full speed all the time.
From itn.co.uk (11/30/05):
Sadayoshi Morita may not have the turn of speed he had when he took up the sport at the age of 19 - in 1934 - but his enthusiasm is as strong as ever.
He plans to keep playing amateur rugby for another five years before taking up golf.
He would like to continue with rugby but thinks at 95 he will no longer be able to keep up.
"If it wasn't for the sprinting I'd be able to play until I was 110."
Morita, originally from the southern island of Kyushu, only briefly interrupted his game when he was conscripted by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two.
He is more than happy to offer advice to younger players who want to know how he keeps going: "The secret is to play a lot of sports and eat a lot, that is the secret of my fine playing."