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Marika Koroibete, Lachlan Boshier and Vince Aso named for Wild Knights debuts

By Tom Vinicombe
Marika Koroibete. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

After forfeiting their opening two matches of the new League One competition, the Saitama Wild Knights will finally take the field this weekend to make their tournament debut.

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A number of positive Covid cases were reported in the Wild Knights’ camp ahead of the opening round, which saw the Robbie Deans-coached side handed default defeats against the Kubota Spears and Green Rockets. Last year, the Wild Knights scored a 62-5 win over the Green Rockets and would have been at short odds to record similar results against them and the Spears this year, had the games gone ahead.

The flow-on effect of the cancellations has meant that a number of key recruits acquired by Deans during the offseason have yet to take the field, including Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete, former Chiefs flanker Lachlan Boshier and former Hurricanes utility back Vince Aso.

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The Tokyo Sungoliath got their season off to a strong start against the Brave Lupus.
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The Tokyo Sungoliath got their season off to a strong start against the Brave Lupus.

All three of that trio have now been named to make their debuts for the Wild Knights this weekend when the side hosts the Yokohama Eagles in Kumagaya.

Koroibete, the only capped player of the lot, will slot straight into the starting line-up on the left wing with two other expats in the midfield, Wales international Hadleigh Parkes and South African-born Dylan Riley.

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Koroibete was a weapon on the wing for Australia during the early stages of the test season and one of the form outside backs in the world. He remained at home during the Wallabies’ northern tour to spend time with his family before making the shift to Japan and the Australians certainly missed his presence in the outer channels during their trip.

Boshier and Aso, meanwhile, will make their debuts off the bench.

Boshier was widely considered incredibly unfortunate to not earn a call-up to the All Blacks at any stage during his career in NZ with the Chiefs loose forward dominating the breakdown over the past two Super Rugby seasons.

Aso, who has split his time between wing and the midfield, clocked up half a century of games for the Hurricanes during his six seasons with the club.

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The Wild Knights were crowned champions in last season’s Top League competition, earning their fourth title in eight years.

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