Richmond’s rugby sevens’ star Nathan Hirayama is retiring from the game after 15 years at the top.
The 33-year-old McRoberts secondary alumnus made the announcement a few days ago and a month or so after co-captaining Canada at the Tokyo Olympics and serving as the country’s joint flag bearer at the Games.
Hirayama, who ranks third in career scoring on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, wrote on Instagram that he was “grateful for my family and friends, the supporters, the staff, my opposition. But mostly I’m grateful for my teammates and to this game that has given me so much.”
He went on to say that “It’s been an honour to wear the maple leaf on my chest and to have been able to compete against the world’s best, alongside my friends.
“Truly a dream come true for a kid from Richmond who fell in love with rugby in high school.
I’ll always care deeply about this game, and I’m looking forward to supporting the next/future gen of rugby players both here in Canada and around the world however I can. Thank you all for everything.”
There was no mention of why Hirayama decided to call it a career, although it would be difficult, at 33, to top leading Canada onto the field at the Olympics and carry the maple leaf onto the track.
Here is Hirayama’s honour roll, as listed by Rugby Canada:
Debuted for Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team at Dubai Sevens at 18-years-old
Made his Men’s XV debut against Portugal in 2008 for Rugby Canada
First-ever father-son due to represent Canada, as dad Gary also represented both codes of the game during the 1980s and was a part of the first team to compete at the Hong Kong Sevens
Winner of the inaugural Canadian Rugby Championship in 2009 with the BC Bears
2010 Rounsefell Cup BC Rugby Champion with UVIC Vikes
Helped Canada finish 7th at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Kazan, Russia and finished the tournament as top points scorer.
Competed at the 2009, 2013, 2018 editions of the Rugby World Cup Sevens
Silver medal finish at the 2014 Glasgow Sevens
Hirayama is also a two-time Pan-American Games Gold Medal winner, including 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico 2015 in Toronto, Ontario. Also won a silver-medal in 2019 in Lima, Peru
Competed at the 2010, 2014, 2018 Commonwealth Games for Canada
Four appearances off the bench at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Helped Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team lift their first and only Cup Trophy in Singapore on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
Four starts at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
In June 2021, he was named co-captain of Team Canada’s 2020 Summer Olympic Games Team for Rugby Canada and competed in the Tokyo 2020 Games, delayed to 2021
Alongside Canadian Women’s Basketball player, Miranda Ayim, Hirayama was given the honour of being Canada’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games
Canada’s all-time leading points scorer on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
23 caps for Canada’s Men’s Fifteens Team, including scoring 47 points
Third all-time points-scorer on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series