Rugby: Sunwolves urged to tighten defence ahead of Chiefs onslaught

The Sunwolves celebrate a try from Hosea Saumaki during the Super Rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on March 17, 2018.
The Sunwolves celebrate a try from Hosea Saumaki during the Super Rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on March 17, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The Sunwolves are conceding too many soft tries and must tighten up their defence if they are to start winning matches, assistant coach Tony Brown has said ahead of Saturday's (March 24) Super Rugby showdown against the Waikato Chiefs.

The Japanese outfit, who are co-based in Singapore, have lost all four of their games this season and are bottom of the standings but were buoyed by last weekend's narrow 40-38 defeat to the Lions, which saw the visitors put on an admirable attacking display.

As the Sunwolves prepare to host the Chiefs in Tokyo for the first time, Brown has warned that poor defending could prove costly against one of the most formidable attacking forces in the competition.

"We are conceding simple, soft tries that don't cost the opposition any energy," Brown told Kyodo News on Friday.

Brown believes that the Sunwolves are tiring themselves out by complicating their attacking tactics and used the New Zealand national team's clinical approach to highlight his point.

"And when we attack we are using up a lot of energy to score points. The best teams score tries in one or two phases and that allows them to then defend well. At the end of the day, that's how the All Blacks win all their tests," he added.

The match will also be significant for Japan national captain Michael Leitch, who left the Chiefs to return to Tokyo this year, and fullback Robbie Robinson as the duo prepare to face their former team.

The pair were part of the Waikato-based side's title-winning campaign in 2013 and the New Zealand-born Leitch said that the game would be "bigger than normal".

"We left some players in Japan when we went to South Africa (for games against the Sharks and Lions) and we are preparing to win this game," the 29-year-old added.