Rugby: Concerns continue for Sunwolves

The newly released Sunwolves logo.
The newly released Sunwolves logo.

Japan's new Super Rugby team is in something of a shambles with the season kickoff just over six weeks away.

That's how the Sunwolves have been portrayed in a Japan Times story, which predicts Japan's World Cup bubble is about to burst.

A story penned by Rich Freeman says while the team has a coach in Mark Hammett and a full roster of 34 players, there are many concerns and unanswered questions.

Freeman writes: "As far as the playing personnel is concerned, the general view is the squad - which contains just 10 of the Brave Blossoms who shocked the world at RWC 2015 - lacks depth and that the management clearly did not learn from the problems Eddie Jones had when putting out a team of second stringers in the national team jersey. Off the field, there are even more questions."

The Sunwolves still don't have a training base so will move around the homes of three Tokyo clubs, there is criticism of the playing surface at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground where they will play, Hammett was the only listed member of its coaching staff a couple of days ago.

The paper also claimed the Sunwolves were not making the most of opportunities to build a fan base around Asia.

Freeman concluded: "While Japan's past performances didn't exactly instil confidence ahead of last year's (World Cup) tournament, the Brave Blossoms had the ultimate professional to lead them in Jones.

"An amateur approach off the Super Rugby field and poor performances on it, however, could see the bubble burst. The Australian's decision to quit the Sunwolves in August should have been a warning sign. Sadly it still doesn't seem to have been taken on board."

The Sunwolves' opening match is at home against the Lions from South Africa on February 27.

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