The Sunwolves’ second year started with 4 losses in a row. In the match of round 1, the Sunwolves played against the Hurricanes at Tokyo. But the Sunwolves was defeated by a score of 83 to 17. In the match of round 2, the Sunwolves lost the Kings (Southern Kings) by 37 to 23 in Singapore National Stadium.
Then Sunwolves made an expedition to South Africa. But they lost the Cheetahs 38 to 31 in the match of round 3, and lost the Bulls 34 to 21 in the next round. Many players of the Sunwolves are absent from injuries and rest, so they can not organize the best members.
On March 25, the match of round 5 was held in Singapore National Stadium, the Sunwolves played against the Stormers (DHL Stormers). The Sunwolves had played against the Stormers two times last year, the Stormers beat the Sunwolves 46 to 19 in Cape Town on April 2016. And on May 2016, both teams played again in Singapore, it was a draw of 17 to 17. By the way, only Liaki Moli, Edward Quirk and Derek Carpenter are starting members of the match with Stormers in last year and this year.
The Sunwolves changed 5 stating members that compared with last 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: Koki Yamamoto (☆★), Heiichiro Ito (☆) ■HO: Yusuke Niwai ■LO: Liaki Moli (★), Sam Wykes ■FL: Shokei Kin (★), Edward Quirk (Cap,★) ■No.8: Willem Britz ■SH: Keisuke Uchida (☆) ■SO: Jyunpei Ogura ■WTB: Shota Emi, Kenki Fukuoka (☆) ■CTB: Timothy Lafaele (☆), Derek Carpenter (★) ■FB: Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
Stormers ■PR: JC Janse van Rensburg, Wilco Louw ■HO: Bongi Mbonambi ■LO: Chris van Zyl, JD Shickerling ■FL: Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi（Cap） ■No.8: Sikhumbuzo Notshe ■SH: Dewaldt Duvenage ■SO: Robert du Preez ■WTB: Seabelo Senatla, Bjorn Basson ■CTB: Dan Kriel, EW Viljoen ■FB: Dillyn Leyds
In the Sunwolves, Takaaki Nakazuru (WTB) is rested, and Ogura participated for the first time in the starting member. He also worked as a kicker.
The Sunwolves lead the match in the first half. Ogura succeeded many kicks, he got 11 points. But the Stormers reversed in the second half, finally Stormers beat Sunwolves 44 to 31. The Sunwolves didn’t got win first time in 2017 Super Rugby. And Sunwolves may not have the chance to win the season any more. Why?
As a matter of fact, there were many injured players in Stormers who were Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Huw Jones (CTB), Jano Vermaak (SH), Jean-Luc du Plessis (SO) and Cheslin Kolbe (BK). And some players are rested, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (LO), Frans Malherbe (PR) , Nizaam Carr (FL) and SP Marais (FB) didn’t took part in the match. In other words, there were few major players but the Sunwolves didn’t win.
Then, Seabelo Senatla of Stormers participated for the first time in the starting member. Senatla was a member of the South African Sevens team that won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and he became World Rugby’s 2016 Sevens Player of the Year. Senatla didn’t scored a try, but he often gained in early steps.
This youtube’s video is the movie of Sunwolves vs. Stormers. The Sunwolves will not have a match in the 6th round and they were taking a rest. In the 7th round, the Sunwolves play against the Bulls in the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on April 8.