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Sunwolves side to face Highlanders

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Tony Brown retains experimental midfield for Highlanders match

Tony Brown has kept the faith this week, making only two changes to the Sunwolves as they prepare for their game against the Highlanders in Tokyo.

Both Brown and re-instated halfback Fumiaki Tanaka represented the Highlanders earlier in their careers, with Brown later joining the Highlanders coaching set up.

Tanaka’s return to the starting lineup comes on the back of a concussion to Jamie Booth, who had to retire from last weekend’s loss against the Hurricanes.

The Sunwolves built up a respectable 23-7 lead but didn’t fire a shot after halftime, with the Hurricanes coming away from the game with a 29-23 win.

Brown will have spent a considerable amount of time since the match trying to figure out how his side let slip such a huge lead. The Sunwolves have a reputation for starting quick out of the blocks but failing to press on. Evidently Brown is content that the issue is not a personnel problem, retaining most of the players that were on the field against the Hurricanes.

New midfielder Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco was particularly impressive last weekend. He set up one try after a storming run from a lineout and chewed up metres throughout the match.

Many eyebrows were raised when Warren-Vosayaco was selected at 12 last week – he had played exclusively in the loose-forwards prior to the Hurricanes game. His performance was assured enough to warrant another week in the centres and he will once again be partnered by Josh Timu.

The only other change to the starting lineup sees the 2.01-metre Grant Hattingh come onto the blindside in place of Ben Gunter, who drops to the bench.

Experienced Brave Blossoms Shota Horie and Yu Tamura join the bench after spending time in the Japan World Cup training squad. The Sunwolves’ lineout – particularly in the latter stages of last weekened’s match – came up plenty of pressure from the Hurricanes, so adding Horie should the mix should sure things up.

 

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Tony Brown retains experimental midfield for Highlanders match