Preview: Sunwolves vs Bulls – 08/04/2017

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The Sunwolves have made several changes to their team that will host the Bulls in this week’s game at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

After a bye week, Kotaro Matsushima, Takaaki Nakazuru, Hayden Cripps and Fumiaki Tanaka all come into the backline for the clash in Tokyo.

That quartet replace Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, Shota Emi, Jumpei Ogura and Keisuke Uchida respectively as the Sunwolves hunt a first win in 2017.

In the forwards, Yasuo Yamaji comes in at tighthead prop in place of Heiichiro Ito, Uwe Helu replaces Sam Wykes at lock while Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Shuhei Matsuhashi and Yoshitaka Tokunaga form a new-look back-row, replacing Willie Britz, Shokei Kin and Ed Quirk respectively.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais gave starts to Tian Schoeman and Jannes Kirsten for the first time this season when he named his team to face the Sunwolves in a Super Rugby clash in Tokyo on Saturday.

Schoeman will start in place of Handré Pollard, who along with Jesse Kriel, are being rested as part of the SA Rugby agreement. Kriel’s spot at full-back goes to Warrick Gelant.

Up front, Kirsten will start in place of injured Ruan Steenkamp, Hanro Liebenberg returns at number eight and takes over from injured Arno Botha and Jason Jenkins will partner RG Snyman at lock, with Lood de Jager falling out the match 23 with a quad strain.

Martin Dreyer, who replaced John-Roy Jenkinson on tour, will take over from Jacobie Adriaanse on the bench, while Jacques Potgieter, Ivan van Zyl and Franco Naude, who also arrived from South Africa earlier in the week, will all play off the bench.

Potgieter has been named the back-up lock, Van Zyl will cover for the injured Piet van Zyl and Naude will cover the midfield and outside backs. Francois Brummer, who joined the team in New Zealand already, will back-up Tian Schoeman.

Young Hendré Stassen (pencilled in alongside Jaco Visagie for the Number 19 jersey), joined the team this week after being in camp with the Junior Boks, is also a possible debutant off the bench.

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss(c), 1 Lizo Gqoboko.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jaco Visagie/Hendré Stassen,   20 Jacques Potgieter, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude.

Date: Saturday, April 8
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14:15 local (05:15 GMT)
Referee: Will Houston (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Akhiso Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)


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