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Sunwolves lose Hammett ahead of Super Rugby

Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett will move to the Highlanders next season

Japan’s new Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves have suffered a blow ahead of their first Super Rugby match as coach Mark Hammett was forced to leave team training Friday following the death of his mother.

The former Hurricanes coach has left the team’s Okinawa camp in Japan to return home to New Zealand and left forwards coach Filo Tiatia in charge of preparing to face the Lions in Tokyo on February 27.

Hammett has told local media in Japan that he is hoping to return to Tokyo for the team’s first Super Rugby match.

The Sunwolves preparations for their entry into Super Rugby has not gone well as they have had the least amount of time together in training although they did beat a Japanese Top League select side 52-24 last weekend.

Several of the Japan stars from the Rugby World Cup chose not to play for the Sunwolves and they are expected to struggle in their first years in Super Rugby.