• Kyodo


Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett has made wholesale changes to his side for Friday night’s Super Rugby clash with the Stormers at Newlands.

Coming off the back of yet another narrow loss, the Sunwolves run-on XV shows seven changes and two positional switches to the team that started last week’s 33-28 defeat in South Africa to the Southern Kings.

In the pack, props Masataka Mikami and Takuma Asahara are brought back into the side as is lock Shinya Makabe, with Tomas Leonardi returning at No. 8 and Ed Quirk moving to openside flanker.

“I’ll try to keep the same level of work rate (as when Keita Inagaki was in the side) and up the level of the scrum,” said Mikami, who takes over from the injured Inagaki.

In the backs, scrumhalf Yuki Yatomi will pair up with Yu Tamura, who moves from 12 to 10 replacing incumbent Tusi Pisi, and there is an all-new center pairing in Derek Carpenter and Mifiposeti Paea.

“We’ll concentrate on what we have to do first rather than worrying about our opponents,” said Yatomi.

The game marks the first Super Rugby starts for Mikami, Makabe, Yatomi and Carpenter, the quartet having previously been used exclusively off the bench.

On the bench, Takushoku University student Ziun Gu will make his Super Rugby debut, if called into action. The loosehead prop will also become the first South Korean to play in the world’s top regional rugby competition.

The Sunwolves have lost all five games to date and are bottom of the South African Group standings with three points, one behind the Kings. The Stormers currently top the group with 18 points, having won four and lost one.

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