Hammett: ‘Sunwolves must front up physically’

Date published: January 7 2016

Sunwolves head coach Mark Hammett wants the new side to respond to the physical challenge of playing in Super Rugby in their debut year.

The former Hurricanes boss has been appointed to lead the Japanese franchise in 2016 and knows the standard of the competition well from his time in Wellington.

Hammett is also eager for the Sunwolves to create their own style of rugby, rather than simply imitate the other sides.

"I like to have a team that want to play for each other and respect each other. I want a team that can physically challenge against big sides," Hammett told Stuff.

"It's important that we play our style, our brand of rugby… that we can throw the ball around and be innovative in the way we play and attack.

"Super Rugby is fast, Super Rugby is physical. There are lots of big hits, lots of big, strong men. It's an exciting brand with a lot of play.

"We know it will be a tough year but we are excited by it.

"Japanese rugby is on the rise and let's hope the Sunwolves can keep improving, not just Super Rugby but also Japanese rugby."

Hammett's last major role was an ill-fated spell as director of rugby at Welsh region Cardiff Blues, but the 43-year-old former All Black is thrilled to be working in Japan.

"I'm very motivated by this challenge," Hammett added.

"Japan rugby has a long history, 125 years, and now to get to this point, it will be nice to set foot on the Super Rugby fields, probably the hardest competition in the world."