Super Rugby: Sunwolves hope to rebound from loss despite lack of experience

Captain Ed Quirk of Sunwolves at the team's training ahead of their first Super Rugby match in Singapore against the Kings on Saturday (March 4).
Captain Ed Quirk of Sunwolves at the team's training ahead of their first Super Rugby match in Singapore against the Kings on Saturday (March 4).ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - The Sunwolves' best chance to win their first Super Rugby match of this season could potentially come on Saturday (March 4) against the Kings at the Singapore Sports Hub.

It will be a clash between the bottom two sides of last season.

The Sunwolves, a Japanese franchise who are co-based in Tokyo and Singapore, finished bottom of the 18-team standings last season with just one win and one draw, while South African side the Kings finished second from bottom with two victories.

Both teams enter the National Stadium tomorrow having lost their opening round last week.

The Sunwolves were trounced 83-17 by reigning champions the Hurricanes in Tokyo, while the Kings were beaten 39-26 by Argentina's Jaguares in Port Elizabeth.

Despite missing captain Harumichi Tatekawa for this trip as the scrum-half has taken a knock to his knee, Sunwolves' coach Filo Tiatia will be fielding a new half-back pairing by handing starting debuts to scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka and fly-half Hayden Cripps.

In the Sunwolves' starting line-up for Saturday's game, five players have played in just one Super Rugby match (last week).

Tiatia said that playing in Super Rugby is a good learning opportunity for his players. The former New Zealand rugby player said: "We're excited to be playing against the Kings tomorrow. Like us, they haven't been around in this competition for that long.

"Playing in these type of competitions enhances experiences, knowledge and excitement for fans. We've got a great opportunity to keep learning in one of the best rugby competitions in the world."

While the Sunwolves made their debut in the Super Rugby league last year, the Kings are a relatively new outfit as well, having played in the competition in 2013 and last year.

The Sunwolves' game captain Ed Quirk added that the team have put last week's thumping behind them. The flanker said: "We've left last week to last week. We're pumped up to be back here again, where we've had a draw and two (close) games last year. We've had an unreal progression, we had a good training session yesterday and we're excited for the game tomorrow."

Of the three matches the Sunwolves played in Singapore last season, they lost two tight games (31-32 to the Cheetahs, 27-30 to the Bulls) and drew 17-17 with the Stormers.