The Sunwolves have named their Super Rugby team to play the Highlanders at Rugby Park in Napier.
Willie Britz missed the loss to the Crusaders but returns to the starting side at No.8 replacing Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco who rotates to the bench.
Japan scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka starts against his former team the Highlanders.
We are excited to bring new players in starting fifteen, said Head Coach Filo Tiatia.
“Willem Britz is back in the team. I am very excited he is back and he says he cannot wait playing against the Highlanders. William Tupou comes in and gets some chance. He has not played since the Cheetahs match in South Africa as a starting member but he gets the opportunity on this weekend. “
”I am really happy on how Derek Carpenter has been playing and just willing Tupou to get the opportunity playing this time. Not only Mark Hammett is an assistant coach for the Highlanders, but also the head coach is the Japan national assistant coach Tony Brown and Fumiaki Tanaka used to play for the Highlanders until the last season. “
”The Highlanders and the Sunwolves have a great connection. We know they are going to be well planned and prepared. So we are going to be well prepared to the challenge against them. We are going to improve from our performance against the Crusaders. We are so excited for such challenge.
Obviously that was very disappointing loss against the Crusaders but you can always learn off our mistakes throughout the season, said Ed Quirk.
“So I think a lot of boys are very excited to play against Mark Hammett and the Highlanders. They will play similar game to us. So our strength is the way we play with the speed. We are moving into Invercargill on Friday. Some of the boys has never been there so everyone is so excited to be there.
“The first Super Rugby game against the New Zealand team the Crusaders was disappointing because I could not do much from what I wanted to do and the game plan of the team, “ said Keita Inagaki.
“We learn from the last game and preparing for the next game against the Highlanders. The coaches always prepare the great game plan so we will understand our individual role and execute properly so we will get chance to win the game.
Fumiaki Tanaka said that he was excited to be playing against his former side, “ It is very exciting to challenge against the Highlanders as a member of the Japanese Super Rugby team the Sunwolves. I have special feeling for them and I can find out how improved I am from the last season with the Highlanders. Our set pieces have been improved so that will be our strength and also the backs are preparing very good tactics for the game. We communicate well each other and execute it properly.
15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 William Tupou, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Yuhimaru Mimura, 6 Edward Quirk (c), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Hayden Cripps, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi