Ryan Nicholas

Ryan Nicholas

Rugby Biography
Rugby Biography Less

Ryan Nicholas

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Ryan Nicholas (born 23 May 1979 in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia) is a rugby union player who plays for Suntory Sungoliath of the Top League in Japan. Although he is of Cook Island Maori heritage, he has played internationally for Japan since 2008.

Playing career

New Zealand

Born in Australia, Nicholas moved to New Zealand in his youth and attended Tauranga Boys' College. He moved south to attend the University of Otago and made his provincial rugby debut for Otago as a teenager in 1998.

By 2001, Nicholas was a key player in the Otago side and earned a contract with the Highlanders for the 2002 Super 12 season. He would go on to have an outstanding debut season, starting all 12 contests and leading the side with 7 tries (one more than All Black great Jeff Wilson). His exploits helped the Highlanders to an 8-3 record and semi-finals berth.

However, Nicolas would be unable to duplicate the excellence of his 2002 campaign, and he wouldn't record another try in 19 matches over his final two seasons with the Highlanders. His form suffered a similar dip with Otago, and he was not included in the Highlanders squad for the 2005 Super 12 season.


In 2005, Nicholas joined Japanese Top League club Suntory Sungoliath. While his goal-kicking opportunities were limited in New Zealand, as he was behind All Blacks Nick Evans and Tony Brown in the pecking order for Otago and the Highlanders, he was given an opportunity in Japan to become his team's main kicking option,...
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