• Kyodo


Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett didn’t want to call Saturday’s clash with the Jaguares a make-or-break game, but he admitted it was a huge match for his side following last week’s hammering at the hands of the Cheetahs.

“I don’t want to say defining game as it is a big word but it will show a bit more where we are,” he said after Friday’s captain’s run at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.

“We knew we didn’t have a lot of depth and that it would be challenged at this stage. But the experience gained along the way is a silver lining as it allows us to expose other players.”

The Sunwolves went down 92-17 last week — the third-biggest defeat and second-most points conceded in Super Rugby history — and Hammett is keen to show that the performance was a “one-off, a bit of an oddity.”

“We’ve returned back physically pretty well from South Africa though there’s always an element of jet lag. So we are focused on parts of the game where we can be energy efficient.”

The Sunwolves have struggled consistently in the set piece — ranking 18th in line-out success and 13th in scrum success among the 18 teams — while the Jaguares are 16th (somewhat of an abnormality given the traditional strength of Argentine teams in the scrum) and fifth, respectively.

The visitors are keen to put in a good showing up front

“We need to be good in the forwards in the scrum and line-out, and we need to be good in defense,” said Jaguares captain Agustin Creevy.

The well-respected hooker said last week’s result for the Sunwolves was “no good” for his team as he is sure the hosts will be out to prove a point in front of their own fans.

“We are expecting a tough game and are prepared for that,” Creevy said.

Despite last week’s scoreline, Hammett has made just two injury-forced changes and one rotation change in addition to a positional switch in midfield.

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