Britz and five rookies in team to tackle Cheetahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia has named five rookies in the matchday 23 to face the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The match will also see the return of former Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz to the Free State capital.
After more than 100 first-class games for the Cheetahs and Lions in various competitions, he signed a two-year contract with the Sunwolves this year.
The players who will make their Super Rugby debuts are Yusuke Niwai, Yasuo Yamaji and Uwe Helu.
Atsushi Sakate and Jumpei Ogura bring up to five the uncapped players in the matchday squad and will make their Super Rugby debuts if they come off the bench.
These five players bring to 17 the number of new Super Rugby players introduced by the Sunwolves this season.
The Sunwolves, who lost 23-37 the Southern Kings in Singapore last week, have based themselves in Johannesburg - ahead of their trip to Bloemfontein later in the week.
The coach, Tiatia, said it is 'exciting times' for the new players.
He added that the team has worked extremely hard on making adjustments to their game and the addition of the five newcomers has brought another rush of energy to the pack.
Niwai said it is an 'honour' to be selected as a member of the Sunwolves.
"This will be a massive challenge and a great experience in my carrier," he said, adding: "I will have to contribute at the breakdown and the contact area."
Sunwolves: 15 Shota Emi, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 William Tupou, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Edward Quirk, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Kkoki Yamamoto.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.
Date: Saturday, March 11
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT; 00.15, Sunday, March 12 Japan time)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)