TOKYO, Feb. 22, Kyodo
The Sunwolves, Japan’s new Super Rugby side, announced their final 39-man squad Monday, five days before their debut in the regional rugby competition.
Toshiba Brave Lupus prop Takuma Asahara and Tasman Makos wing Viliami Lolohea have been added to the squad while Ricoh Black Rams wing Amanaki Lotoahea has been dropped due to injury.
Head coach Mark Hammett said after the team’s one warm-up game that he was looking at adding players, especially to fill the No. 13 jersey. But Lotoahea’s injury and the possibility of Akihito Yamada leaving the squad in June to pursue a place in the Japan Sevens team for the Rio Olympics sees Lolohea get the call-up.
Hammett’s full coaching roster was also announced with confirmation that Atsushi Tanabe will be the first Japanese assistant coach in Super Rugby.
The former Panasonic Wild Knights fullback takes on the role of backs and skills coach.
The Sunwolves take on the Johannesburg-based Lions on Saturday at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground and it is still not known whether Hammett will be in Japan for the game after he was forced to return to New Zealand last Friday following the death of his mother.