The Sunwolves’s second year has started, the match Round 1 of Super Rugby was held in the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on February 25. The Sunwolves played against the Hurricanes that are the champion of 2016 Super Rugby, but the Hurricanes beat the Sunwolves 83 to 17.
Many players of the Sunwolves has injured, that is one of their defeats. Now Keita Inagaki (PR), Hitoshi Ono (LO), Kotaro Matsushima (FB) , Yu Tamura (SO) , Shinya Makabe (LO) , Shunsuke Nunomaki (FL) and Harumichi Tatekawa (CTB) are under treatment, but Fumiaki Tanaka (SH) took part in the match of Round 2.
On March 4, the match of Round 2 was held in Singapore National Stadium, the Sunwolves played against the Kings (Southern Kings). The Sunwolves had played against the Kings in April last year, the kings beat the Sunwolves 33 to 28 in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. By the way, Shota Horie, Liaki Moli and Edward Quirk are starting members of the match with Kings in last year and this year.
The Sunwolves hold 3 matches each year in Singapore as their sponsorship match. The starting members of both teams are as follows;
☆：Japan national rugby union player of 2016 Autumn Internationals
★：the Sunwolves player of 2016 Super Rugby
Sunwolves ■PR: Masataka Mikami (☆★), Heiichiro Ito (☆) ■HO: Shota horie (☆★) ■LO: Liaki Moli (★), Sam Wykes ■FL: Shokei Kin (★), Edward Quirk (Cap,★) ■No.8: Willem Britz ■SH: Fumiaki Tanaka (☆) ■SO: Hayden Cripps ■WTB: Takaaki Nakazuru, Kenki Fukuoka (☆) ■CTB: Timothy Lafaele (☆), Derek Carpenter (★) ■FB: Shota Emi
Kings (Southern Kings)■PR: Schalk Ferreira (Cap), Ross Geldenhuys ■HO: Michael Willemse ■LO: Tyler Paul, Mzwanele Zito ■FL: Andisa Ntsila, Stefan Willemse ■No.8: Ruaan Lerm ■SH: Louis Schreuder ■SO: Lionel Cronje ■WTB: Malcolm Jaer, Makazole Mapimpi ■CTB: Waylon Murray, Berton Klaasen ■FB: Masixole Banda
In the 1st minute of first half, Cronje got a penalty kick so the Kings scored the first. The Sunwolves also got a chance of penalty kick in the 6th minute, but Cripps failed the kick. The Kings got a try and conversion kick was good in the 16th minute, so the Kings took the lead in score of 10 to 0. After that, Lafaele got a try and Cripps scored a conversion kick in the 23th minute, the score was 10 to 7. But Cloete got a try and Cronje got a conversion kink in the 35th minute, Kings took the lead in score of 17 to 7.
In the second half, the match reached a stalemate for a while. So the Sunwolves changed the players, Koki Yamamoto and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi came off the bench in the 52th minute. Then both team got 2 pelalty kicks, the score was 23 to 13 in the 62th minute. But Lerm got a try and Cronje’s conversion kick was good in the 66th minute, so the Kings took the lead in score of 30 to 13.
After that, Fukuoka intercepted Kings’ pass and scored a try, the score was 30 to 18. However, Jaer got a try and Cronje got a conversion kink in the 79th minute, the Kings lead the Sunwolves 37 to 18. So after the end horn rang, the Sunwolves fought back, Nakazuru got a try of the first time in Super Rugby. Finally, the Kings beat the Sunwolves 37 to 23.
The Kings was 17th in 2016 Super Rugby, the Sunwolves had the chance to win. But the Sunwolves had a lot of foul play in this match, so the kings got the chance of conversion kicks. Then there was no team tactics, the players’ consciousness was not unified. And there is still weakness in Sunwolves’ backs, it is important that injured players return, as like Tamura, Tatekawa and Matsushima.
This youtube’s video is the movie of Sunwolves vs. Kings. In third round, the Sunwolves play against the Cheetahs in South Africa on March 11.