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The Sunwolves begin their last campaign in Super Rugby with a home game against the Rebels. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 2:45pm AEDT.
As we come to terms with the Sunwolves’ very sad axing from Super Rugby in 2021, they have to their credit attracted some interesting names to play out their final season.
Former NRL and England star Ben Te’o will make his Sunwolves debut after being named to start at inside centre against the Rebels.
Former Brumby James Dargaville is at fullback and former Reds loose forward Jake Schatz has been named co-captain.
The new-look side also features a South African halves combination in Rudy Paige and Garth April.
Meanwhile the Rebels are set to field as many as eight debutants.
Coach Dave Wessels has given Fiji international Frank Lomani first crack at halfback and as expected he will partner No 10 Matt To’omua.
Former Waratahs flyer Andrew Kellaway is on the left wing while the bench is stacked with young talent, including Steve Misa, Cameron Orr, Theo Strang and Andrew Deegan.
Other new Rebels faces on the bench are Ruan Smith and Michael Wells as Wessels opts for a six forwards, two backs split.
If the Rebels are looking for areas for improvement, the forwards are the main issue, especially with the front row being fairly untested. After spending most of 2019 on the sidelines, star Wallaby Jordan Ulese will once again miss the first few rounds through injury. The loss of Adam Coleman is not as big as a worry – he missed a lot of game time last season with various injuries – and one expects Matt Phillip and Luke Jones to step up and fill the void.
This will be a difficult season for the Sunwolves, playing every opponent that is guaranteed a future in Super Rugby. With their days numbered, you can only expect the squad to provide professional performances. With that in mind, the Rebels are deserved favourites as the team from Japan wrestles with earning wins and making peace with their unfortunate fate beyond 2020.
Rebels by 14.
Time: 2:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: Level5 Stadium, Fukuoka
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
Odds: Sunwolves $7.00, Rebels $1.10
Sunwolves squad (15-1)
James Dargaville, Siosaia Fifita, Keisuke Moriya (co-c), Ben Te’o, Tautalatasi Tasi, Garth April, Rudy Paige, Jake Schatz (co-c), Shunsuke Nunomaki, Brendon O’Connor, Michael Stolberg, Kotaro Yatabe, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaba Bregvadze, Jarred Adams
Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Hencus van Wyk, Justin Downey, Mitch Jacobson, Naoto Saitao, Shogo Nakano, JJ Engelbrecht
Rebels squad (15-1)
Dane Haylett-Petty, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes, Andrew Kellaway, Matt To’omua, Frank Lomani, Isi Naisarani, Rob Leota, Angus Cottrell, Matt Philip, Ross Haylett-Petty, Jermaine Ainsley, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga
Reserves: Steve Misa, Cameron Orr, Ruan Smith, Luke Jones, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Theo Strang, Andrew Deegan