Sunwolves keep the faith

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:19

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia has made just one change to the starting XV for his teams' Super Rugby showdown with the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.

Jamie-Jerry Taulagi replaces the inform William Tupou, due to injury, and Yshitaka Tokunaga has been named on the bench.

"Willy had a minor injury that saw him leave the field [in the 31-38 loss] against the Cheetahs," Tiatia said.

"He has done a great job for the team, but with the short turnaround this week it was best to rest him.

"Taulagi has taken every opportunity presented, and this will be another chance for him to take the bull by the horns, so to speak," the coach added.

After returning from Bloemfontein on Sunday, the Sunwolves returned to their Midrand base.

"The team performance against the Cheetahs was another great improvement for the group," the coach said.

"We have been trying to get better every week and last Saturday's game was a good indicator of that.

"The Bulls are another great challenge and we have great confidence in this group as they progress in their Super Rugby journey," said Tiatia.

The Sunwolves will leave their Midrand base on Thursday to settle down in Pretoria.

"We have had to focus on getting the guys ready quickly and the players are genuinely excited," Tiatia said.

"You never forget a game at Loftus against the Bulls and this week will be no exception."

Sunwolves: 15 Shota Emi, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Shumei Matsuhashi, 6 Ed Quirk (captain), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.

Date: Friday, March 17
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT; 02.00 Saturday, March 18 JST)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Stuart Berry
TMO: Willie Vos

Force vs Lions
sast: 13h55 | local: 19h55

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10