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Sunwolves named initial Super Rugby squad

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018    Getty Images

New players in his side include New Zealanders Dan Pryor, Rene Ranger, Phil Burleigh and Tom Rowe.

Also joining the side as attack coach is Brown's brother Cory, who coached Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup competition.

"The players we have added are the right players to play our style of rugby and will add to our game, experience and leadership group," Brown said.

"It is 100 percent crucial the Sunwolves are aligned with Japan in the way we play the game and the players we use, as everything is geared towards the World Cup.

"We want to play Japanese rugby, which is an expansive style with a lot of skill and speed, and which is based around unstructured rugby," he said.

Other foreign players returning to the side are Pieter Labuschagne, James Moore and Grant Hattingh, all of whom are hoping to become eligible for Japan ahead of the World Cup, and Craig Millar, Jaba Bregvadze, Ed Quirk, Hayden Parker, Jason Emery and Michael Little.

Top Japanese players returning to the side are Michael Leitch, Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie, Fumiaki Tanaka and Kazuki Himeno. Hendrik Tui with three seasons for the Reds behind him also joins the side.

While only 29 players have been named so far, it is expected more of the Japan Test players missing will be added once contracts have been worked through.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph, who stood down from the Sunwolves role in order to prepare for the World Cup, said: "We will run two programmes, the Sunwolves and a wider group that will play Super Rugby second XVs.

"Japan cannot prepare properly for the World Cup without the Sunwolves."

Joseph added the management group had learnt plenty from the Sunwolves campaign last season and with around 60 players available during the season in their two squads they would ensure players were in peak condition by the start of the World Cup in September.

Brown said the side would have two training camps, one in Japan and the other in Australia with one warm-up game before their first Super Rugby game against the Sharks, in Singapore, on February 16.

The squad to date is: Keita Inagaki, Asaeli Ai Valu, Koo Ji-won, Hencus van Wyk, Craig Millar, Atsushi Sakate, Jaba Bregvadze, Shota Horie, Grant Hattingh, Kazuki Himeno, Hendrik Tui, James Moore, Tom Rowe, Ed Quirk, Dan Pryor, Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne, Kaito Shigeno, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yutaka Nagare, Hayden Parker, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryoto Nakamura, Phil Burleigh, Michael Little, Rene Ranger, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Jason Emery, Gerhard van der Heever.