“I still have a lot to give the game,” says borderer MacLeod who has signed for Newcastle Falcons after a year in which he failed to make a single start with Kobe Steel due to rules restricting foreign players.
Adds MacLeod: “It was not even that I played badly – I just didn’t get a shot.
“Japan was great in terms of being an amazing place to live and it was one of the best things I have ever done from a life experience point of view.
“All the things I was worried about before going there were quickly dispelled, like the language, being so far away from home and a totally different culture.
“The one thing I thought would take care of itself was the rugby, and as it turned out, that was the one aspect I struggled with. If I had played two or three games and performed poorly then I am honest enough to admit it, but it was a weird one.
“Japanese clubs can only play two foreigners at any one time, and at my club we had the Stormers fly-half Peter Grant, the Springbok international centre Jaque Fourie, a Kiwi flanker Josh Blackie and the centre Fraser Anderson, also from New Zealand.
“They told me to just relax at first and settle in. I played in a couple of reserve games, scored a few tries and was going well. I still have a lot to give to the game. I want to play, I want to be coached and to continually strive to be better.”