Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia rung the changes in naming his team Thursday to take on the Highlanders in Invercargill, New Zealand, this weekend.
Tiatia’s run-on XV shows seven changes and one positional switch from the side that started last week’s 50-3 loss to the Crusaders as the former All Black looks to get one up on Highlanders coach Tony Brown and his assistant Mark Hammett, who coached the Sunwolves in their inaugural season.
Brown will leave the 2015 Super Rugby champions at the end of the season to become assistant coach with the Japan national team and, having been part of the Brave Blossoms during the November 2016 test matches, knows many of the Sunwolves well like Hammett.
None more so than Fumiaki Tanaka, who played alongside Brown at Panasonic Wild Knights before the New Zealander coached him at both Otago and the Highlanders.
Tanaka starts at scrumhalf for the Sunwolves on Saturday and said he was excited about playing in front of the fans that made him so welcome during his time in New Zealand’s south island.
Tanaka partners Yu Tamura in a backline that sees Timothy Lafaele move from 13 to 12 and William Tupou come in at outside center.