Preview: Reds v Sunwolves

Date published: May 20 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Reds_wing_Eto_Nabuli_with_ball_in_v_Hurricanes_in_SR_2016

The Sunwolves will head into their match against the Reds full of confidence after an impressive performance against the Stormers last weekend.

The Reds, on the other hand, will be hoping to salvage some pride and become the third Australian side, the other two being the Rebels and Force, to secure a win against the new boys.

This will also be the first time that the Sunwolves will be playing on Australian soil, they have only ever toured to South Africa in their two away games so far this season.

As mentioned, the visitors will be heading into this with a heap of confidence after a stellar performance in their 17-all draw with a rather lacklustre Stormers side.

Despite being ahead 14-3 at the break, the Sunwolves can be pretty happy with their performance against the Africa One Conference leaders.

The home side's lineout success, thanks to Rob Simmons' 58 takes so far, which is the second most by any player this season, will provide them with much needed good quality first phase ball.

And against a side that are conceding an average of 57 points for their away games, the Reds will want to put their lineout ball to good use and rack up the tries against a rather weak Sunwolves defence.

Both sides are fairly evenly matched in every facet of the game, as far as the stats go, the home side, however, do have a slight edge at scrum time.

With a scrum percentage of 94 percent, the 2011 champions will be relying heavily on their physical prowess to compliment their success at the lineout in a bid to starve their opponents of the ball.

The visitors have become known for pouncing on the loose ball and with players like Derek Carpenter and top try-scorer  Akihito Yamada in their arsenal it will be waste if the home side does not use their set-pieces to good effect.

Players to watch: Veteran second-rower Rob Simmons joined the league of centurions when he was capped for the 100th time in a Reds jersey last week. The 27-year-old lock has been instrumental for the Brisbane outfit despite being on the receiving end of some big scores.

Sunwolves stand-in captain Harumichi Tatekawa has not only remarkably stepped in to lead his team, but the inside centre has ensured that they get over the adavantage line regularly. Tatekawa made seven carries in last week's impressive display against an in-form Stormers side. Despite only gaining eleven metres for the men from the Far East, his skill and ability to put his speedsters into space will once again be one not to be missed.

Team news: The Reds have only made one change to their matchday squad. Cadeyrn Neville and Ben Matwijow trade places in the second-row with Neville being named in the starting XV. The impressive Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre continue their half-back pairing while Japan's World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru (full-back) links up with Chris Feauai-Sautia (right wing) and Eto Nabuli (left wing) in the back three.

Meanwhile, Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett has rewarded his troops for last week's brilliant effort against the Africa One table topping Stormers side by naming an unchanged starting line-up. Inside centre Harumichi Tatekawa retains the captaincy for a second week, regular captain Shota Horie has been named on the bench. The only change to the matchday squad is the return of prop Keita Inagaki, who is named amongst the replacements for the first time in six weeks.

Form: The Brisbane side have not been on their finest form this season, only managing to secure two victories. They find themselves in second last position, eleven points adrift of the third placed Rebels. Heavy losses to the Stormers and Bulls last month were followed by a rare 28-27 victory over the Highlanders.

The newcomers are currently seven points behind the second last positioned Cheetahs. They have come a long way since their 92-17 thrashing at the hands of the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in Round Eight. Their only win so far came against fellow newcomers the Jaguares four weeks ago and in emphatic style as Mark Hammett's men ousted their opponents 36-28.

Prediction: The home side have not been enjoying their best of seasons and the Sunwolves will not be a walk over. The Reds to beat the Sunwolves by 8.

The teams:

Reds: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Matt Mafi, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Junior Laloifi

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (c), 11 John Stewart, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa’ Atiga Lemalu, 4 Timothy Bond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Keita Inagaki , 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Mifiposeti Paea

Date: Saturday, May 21
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 15:05 local (05:05 GMT)
Referee: Will Houston
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees, Nic Berry
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore

COMMENTS