The Sunwolves are back in Tokyo this weekend to face the Reds on Saturday morning.
Coming back from a two week tour to New Zealand the Japanese team have one win and won lost which they will feel very proud off and something to build on for the rest of the season.
There are rumours going around that another team will be cut from Super Rugby at the end of the season and they may be that team, so this year is a huge year for the team.
The Reds did not had a good start so far and will be coming to Tokyo with the mindset of winning.
They have made five changes to their side from last week with Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda being rested for this weekend.
This will see Ruan Smith partner his twin brother JP in the frontrow and Angus Scott-Young off the bench and into the backrow, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shifting to lock.
Alex Mafi will also make his first run-on at hooker for this season with Brandon Paenga-Amosa dropping to the bench.
Isaac Lucas will wear the number 10 jersey, while Hamish Stewart is back in the starting side at fullback.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Our performance was disappointing last week in Sydney. We can’t afford another slow start. The Sunwolves are a side who have improved greatly in the past two years.
“This week is a pre-determined rest match by Rugby Australia for those two players. We’ve got good depth with Ruan and Angus (Scott-Young) able to slot straight in there, as well as having Lukhan’s versatility across the second and backrow.
“We’ve decided to rest Bryce this weekend to let him recover from a niggling rib injury. Isaac has played some quality Rugby in his three appearances this season. He’s played at 10 for most of his junior footy, so this is nothing new for him.
“Feao returns this week on the bench. It’s great to have Blythy, Teti and Filipo back in the side. They’ve been working hard at training and deserve their spot this week,” said Thorn.
The Sunwolves have been so much better this year and have played some brilliant rugby so far in the four rounds we have seen.
We have complaining for three years that they are not competitive to play in this competition but they have turned the tide this year.
Their attack has been brilliant, they have a great defensive system in place and if they can sort out their discipline they will be able to pick up a lot more wins.
It is going to be an interesting match on Saturday and it will be good to see them jump back after the close lost against the Blues last week.
Some Interesting facts (By: Opta)
- This will be the fourth Super Rugby meeting between the Sunwolves and the Reds, with each of the previous three won by the home team on the day.
- The Sunwolves have earned competition points in four of their last five Super Rugby games on home turf (W4, 1LBP).
- The Reds have lost their last eight games in a row away from home in Super Rugby, conceding an average of 39 points per game in that period.
- The Sunwolves’ 100% goal-kicking success rate continues for a fourth round; they remain the only team with a flawless record in front of the uprights (18/18).
- Reds’ Harry Hockins won eight lineouts in Round 4, more than any other player (excluding steals); the last time any Reds player won more in a single Super Rugby game was in June 2015 (Jake Schatz – 9).
Prediction: At home with the greta form they have show, Sunwolves by 9
Sunwolves: 1 Pauliasi Manu, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 4 Uwe Helu, 5 Tom Rowe, 6 Ben Gunter, 7 Dan Pryor, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 9 Jamie Booth, 10 Hayden Parker, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 12 Michael Little (C), 13 Sione Teaupa, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 15 Jason Emery
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Amanaki Mafi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Semisi Masirewa
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi (c), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Filipo Daugunu