Amanaki Mafi set for Sunwolves debut

Date published: March 14 2019

Japan back-row Amanaki Mafi is set to end his Super Rugby exile after being named in the Sunwolves squad for Saturday’s clash with the Reds in Tokyo on Saturday.

Mafi has been named on the Sunwolves’ replacements bench and will make his debut for the Japanese outfit if he sees action against the Reds.

The 29-year-old still faces serious assault charges stemming from an alleged altercation with former Melbourne Rebels team-mate Lopeti Timani in Dunedin last year, with the matter still before the court.

While initially banned from training with his Japanese Top League club, Mafi was added to the Sunwolves’ roster last week and, as expected, was named to face the Reds.

The Sunwolves have made six changes to their run-on side after losing to the Blues in Albany last weekend. In the back-line, Jason Emery shifts from outside centre to full-back, where he replaces Semisi Masirewa, and Sione Teaupa comes in to wear the number 13 jersey.

Emery is joined in the back three by Hosea Saumaki, who takes over from Jamie Henry while Hayden Parker replaces Rikiya Matsuda at fly-half.

In the forwards, Dan Pryor and Ben Gunter come in for Shahel Matshuhashi and Hendrik Tui as the starting flankers while Tom Rowe takes over from James Moore at lock.

Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Sione Teaupa, 12 Michael Little (c), 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Uwe Helu, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Amanaki Mafi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Semisi Masirewa

Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 13:15 local (04:15 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Referees: Shuhei Kubo, Aki Aso
TMO: Minoru Fuji