The Vodacom Bulls have appointed Hitoshi Ipponsugi as their Head of Athletic Performance – a newly-created position.
Ipponsugi has become a well-known figure in Japanese rugby over the past 10 years. He studied sports coaching and exercise science at the University of Canberra, and while there interned in the strength and conditioning department of the ACT Brumbies, where he first encountered Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White.
In 2013 he move back to Japan, where he accepted a role at Kobota Spears as the athletic performance coach. A year-and-half later he moved to the Mitsubishi Dynaboars, filling the role of head of strength and conditioning, before becoming the head of physical performance at Toyota Verblitz in 2017.
While at Verblitz he once again worked closely with White, who was then the head coach.
“Ippon-san is a visionary and the top of his field in my opinion, and we are honoured to have him join our system,” says White. “As our Head of Athletic Performance he will lead our esteemed team of conditioners and trainers, and be responsible for the overall conditioning and performance of our players. The most significant part of his role will be to ensure that the conditioning of the players seamlessly compliments the style of rugby we want to play at any given time.”