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Super Rugby 2020: Preview – Sunwolves v Chiefs {15/2/20}

Sunwolves v Chiefs
Saturday 15 February, 4.45pm NZT at Prince Chichibu Stadium, Tokyo
Referee: Angus Gardner
Played: 3
Won: Sunwolves 1, Chiefs 2
Last match: Sunwolves 30, Chiefs 15 (2 March 2019)

The Chiefs only need to look back to their clash against the Sunwolves last year to realise the danger the Japanese side holds. The Sunwolves ran out to a 30-15 win in Hamilton to stun the Chiefs and show that they cannot be underestimated. The Japanese-based side are also coming off an impressive victory over the Rebels and will look to run the Chiefs ragged on their home track.

The Chiefs will be without experienced trio Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown for their upcoming trip to Japan, coach Warren Gatland says.

All Blacks Cane and Lienert-Brown both played the entire 80 minutes during the Chiefs’ come-from-behind 25-15 win against the Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday.

Their full game performances come despite the All Blacks’ rest protocols which see players required to play 40, 60, then 80 minutes to start the season.

Both Cane and Lienert-Brown played 40 minutes in the Chiefs’ first game of the season against the Blues.

Instead, Gatland, who slammed the rest policy ahead of the Super Rugby season, will give the All Blacks duo the week off, along with Cruden, who has played 120 minutes so far this season.

Gatland feels next Saturday’s match against the Sunwolves is a good chance to give other players in the squad some game time.
“It’s a big week next week” Gatland explained. “Players will be rested, but players coming in next week for the Sunwolves in Tokyo hopefully come in with some confidence and excitement about the chance to go up against the Sunwolves.

“Sam, Anton, and Aaron will all get a rest next week. It’s important at the start of the season we rotate the squad, but we also have to keep other players in the squad getting a chance.

“These first four games are pretty crucial to hopefully set us up to having a good season.”

Average score: Sunwolves 20 Chiefs 34

Last three results
Sat, 02 Mar 2019 Sunwolves v Chiefs 30-15 Hamilton
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 Sunwolves v Chiefs 10-61 Tokyo
Sat, 29 Apr 2017 Sunwolves v Chiefs 20-27 Waikato

Sunwolves overall record against the Chiefs
Played 3 , Wins 1 , Losses 2, Draws 0

Sunwolves: 15 James Dargaville, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Keisuke Moriya (c), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Mitch Jacobson, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Jarred Adams
Replacements: 16 Efi Ma’afu, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Takahiro Kimura, 22 Shogo Nakano, 23 JJ Engelbrecht

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Dylan Nel, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Mitchell Brown, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Tiaan Falcon, 23 Orbyn Leger

Sunwolves vs Chiefs
@ Prince Chichibu Stadium
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
Television match official: Minoru Fuji (Japan)


14 February Blues v Crusaders Auckland 7:05 PM
14 February Rebels v Waratahs Melbourne 9:15 PM
15 February Sunwolves v Chiefs Tokyo 4:45 PM
15 February Hurricanes v Sharks Wellington 7:05 PM
15 February Brumbies v Highlanders Canberra 9:15 PM
16 February Lions v Stormers Johannesburg 2:05 AM
16 February Jaguares v Reds Buenos Aires 10:40 AM
Bye: Bulls

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