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Sunwolves looking for Ranger, Burleigh boost

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Sunday, October 21, 2018    Getty Images

The Japanese-based side will be coached by Tony Brown next season as regular coach Jamie Joseph concentrates on preparing the Japan Test side for next year's Rugby World Cup which is being staged in Japan.

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Brown is also an assistant coach to the Japan Test side and said that Joseph was helping to select the Sunwolves squad but it would be left to Brown and Scott Hansen to look after the week-to-week running of the Super Rugby team.

"We have picked international players that can play our style," Brown said.

"I know Phil [Burleigh] from when I coached the Highlanders and he is a very gifted and skilful player who can move the ball at speed. And everyone knows what a dynamic player Rene is. He will be a real weapon and add a lot to our defense, which we need to improve if we are to challenge the top teams."

The Sunwolves' top Japanese players will join the squad three or four rounds into the competition, Brown told The Japan Times.

"It's very similar to the New Zealand sides with the All Blacks not allowed to play the first three or four games of the competition.
"It means you can build depth and when the internationals do become available they have to prove themselves. If other players are better they do not get selected. I have no instructions from Jamie to pick players," he said.

Brown was confident the situation would be easy to manage.

"Like all Super Rugby campaigns you always get a lot of injuries. The new players will add value and the more quality players you have the better you are able to perform, especially in the second half of the season," he said.

Brown said there was likely to be little change in the way the Sunwolves played, something that had made them popular at home.

"I have always tried to be as innovative as possible and I hope to continue the Sunwolves playing style, which is an exciting innovative brand of rugby, one the fans around the world love to watch.

"It's not the same old boring rugby. It's innovative and new. There's not a lot of set pieces or scrums and lineouts. It's about attacking space at speed, using counterattacks and turnovers and kicking a lot to produce rugby that is exciting to play and exciting to watch.

"If we can do that better than the opposition, then we will get the results," he said.