18 May 2018

Hito-Communications Sunwolves, Asia’s sole Super Rugby franchise, are hoping to attract new fans on their Hong Kong debut in Saturday’s Mitsubishi Estate Super Rugby match, the first Super Rugby fixture ever held in the territory.  The match will be played at the 6,000-seat Mong Kok Stadium on Saturday (kick-off at 13.15).

The Hong Kong fixture joins a game next month in Singapore as the Sunwolves’ two away “home” games this season and assistant coach Tony Brown is keen to grow the club’s fanbase around the region.

“It’s really important for us to perform on Saturday,” said Brown. 

“All of the players understand our role. As the first Asian side involved in Super Rugby, our job is to represent Japan and Asia well, and hopefully the Hong Kong game can create some home advantage and when we come here again we will have even more support.

“I hope that Hong Kong people will enjoy watching us. We like to think that the Sunwolves play an attractive brand of rugby and are pretty exciting at times, as you saw last week with some of the tries we scored, [in a 63-28 win over the Reds, the Sunwolves’ first victory over an Australian opponent].  

“If we can put on that sort of performance against the Stormers, then in the future when we come back we should have even more people behind us,” added Brown.

Brown knows that a repeat showing of the performance in last week’s resounding win is a must against a Stormers outfit playing for their play-off lives.

“It is another big challenge for us. Stormers are a quality team. We had a good win last week and want to back that up with another good performance. Hopefully that will be good enough on the day.

“They are pretty frustrated with losing at home last week so we are expecting a tough battle, especially early on around the physicality. 

“South African teams like to use that to intimidate and I think it will be the same on Saturday. It’s never an easy task against South African teams but you know what is coming and we have had all week to prepare for that style of game. 

“I’m sure our forwards in particular understand what type of game is coming,” Brown added.

Defence has been a focus for Head Coach Jamie Joseph and Brown this season and the ex-All Black flyhalf believes that some gains have been made this season.

“We’re getting better in our defence. When we have lost this season we’ve conceded a lot of soft tries and that’s our challenge against quality teams – to not concede those kinds of tries that really kill morale.”

“We’ve been battling away and improving every week so far this season, without any success, so last week getting a win will definitely give the boys a lot of confidence that what we are doing is right. 

“If we continue to train well and put that on the park we’re good enough to beat most teams in this competition.”

The Sunwolves will need to back up their first win over an Australian opponent last week with a first ever win on the road since joining Super Rugby three seasons ago.

“Our statistics show that that is a challenge for us because we’ve never won away from Tokyo, but we are focused on our preparations and our performance and eventually we will win away from home. Why not this weekend?” mused Brown.

That is a question that local fans, particularly the more than 10,000 resident Japanese in the city, will be looking for the team to answer on Saturday.

Uncovered general admission seating is priced from just HK$100 for kids (aged 12 and under) to HK$249 for adults. Seats in the Wolfpack stand, especially reserved for Sunwolves fans, are $299 for adults and $150 for children. Covered seating prices are HK$399 for adults and HK$150 for kids with individual hospitality tickets, (inclusive of covered seating and free flow food and beverage), set at HK$738.  Tickets can be purchased via Ticketflap at https://www.ticketflap.com/superrugby2018.