Timothy Lafaele will lead a much-changed Sunwolves side when it takes on the Jaguares this weekend in Buenos Aires, the Super Rugby franchise announced Friday.
Filo Tiatia’s team shows 10 changes to the run-on XV that started last week’s 27-20 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton, New Zealand, as injuries take their toll.
“I am delighted to name Timothy Lafaele as the game captain,” Tiatia said in a press release. “Tim has played exceptionally well so far this season and I’m confident with his ability to lead the team.”
Takeshi Kizu, Heiichiro Ito, Hayden Cripps, Fumiaki Tanaka and Teruya Goto have all flown back to Japan as the result of injuries, and there are five changes each in the pack and the backline for the game, which kicks off Sunday at 6.40 a.m. Japan time at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
Koki Yamamoto, Yusuke Niwai and Yasuo Yamaji form an all-new front row and Uwe Helu comes in to join Sam Wykes in the second row.
Regular captain Ed Quirk starts the game on the bench so Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco is named at blindside flanker, with Shunsuke Nunomaki and Willie Britz keeping their spots in the No. 7 and 8 jerseys, respectively.
Yuki Yatomo and Yu Tamura are promoted from the bench and start at halfback with Lafaele partnering William Tupou in midfield.
Speedsters Kenki Fukuoka and Shota Emi are both fit again, forming an exciting back three with Kotaro Matsushima.
“Emi and Fukuoka will both provide speed and strong finishing from the outside,” said Tiatia.
On the bench, Takeshi Hino, Keita Inagaki and Takuma Asahara are the back-up front-rowers with Shinya Makabe and Quirk the two other reserve forwards.
Keisuke Uchida, Jumpei Ogura and Ryohei Yamanaka are the replacement backs, having flown out to Argentina with Hino and Fukuoka earlier this week to bolster the squad.
“Adjusting to the different time zone and maintaining a good condition is my main task now, but it should not be a big problem. I will be communicating with my teammates and will be ready for the game,” Fukuoka said.
Last year, the two teams met in Tokyo with the Sunwolves winning 36-28 for their first win in Super Rugby.