Sunwolves eye historic first Super Rugby win
Japanese outfit motivated and fit - and want to make history with their first Super Rugby victory
HITO-COM SUNWOLVES v VODACOM BLUE BULLS
(Tonight, 6.50pm, Singtel TV Ch 120 & StarHub TV Ch 217)
The Hito-Com Sunwolves have yet to win in three Super Rugby outings, but coach Mark Hammett says there's no monkey that they desperately want to smack off their back.
The New Zealander insists that his team remain focused on fixing processes, as opposed to fretting over final outcomes, when they line up against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at the National Stadium tonight.
"We're not spending our time focusing on one loss, two losses, three losses," said Hammett.
"But you're just talking about the result. In terms of wins, we're winning every week, with certain things that we're doing.
"We know that wins are hard to come by, and we're focused on the actions that'll get us there. But that doesn't mean that we're not hugely dedicated and motivated to get in and win."
The last time the Sunwolves played in Singapore, their second home after Tokyo, they came very close to the franchise's first-ever win.
Leading the Cheetahs by as many as 21 points at one point, the Sunwolves fell to their opponents' second-half surge, eventually losing 32-31. And lessons have been learnt from that experience.
"How we started that second half is something we need to work on... and the whole team want to improve, we want to win," said captain Shota Horie, who believes there are positives as well.
"In attack, the forwards and backs are all on the same page... and this time we are more used to the weather and the heat - it did feel like it's a little bit cooler (yesterday)."
The Sunwolves fell to the Lions in their season-opener and, after taking on the Cheetahs in Singapore, they were outclassed by the Melbourne Rebels 35-9 last week. But Hammett has looked into each performance and moved to fix problems, while taking in the little "wins" that came up in each game.
"Each game, we've had lessons. For the first game, we had a short time, but we battled. We still need to make improvements, but we're showing progress.
"In the second game, we felt that while our attack understanding was good, some of our micro skills - how we caught the ball, our running lines, those sorts of things (was not)," said Hammett, who is not looking to stop the Sunwolves struggling with defensive systems like they did against the Rebels.
"We're in really good condition. Every player is motivated and fit for (tonight)," said Horie.
And the Sunwolves want to win.
"Without a doubt, we want to make history, and we want to show the world that we deserve to be in this competition," said Hammett.
"And there's no doubt that a win will help elevate that."
PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB
SINGAPORE PLAYERS JOIN IN TRAINING
Players from the Singapore President’s XVs had a joint training session with the Hito-Com Sunwolves at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium yesterday.
The local side will take on the World First Premiership Select in the curtain-raiser today at 5pm and President’s XVs captain Gasper Tan said: “This session is a great opportunity to prepare ourselves.
“We are passionate about rugby, and we’re grateful for this opportunity to be coached by some of the top coaches in the world.”
Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett was happy to be part of the training, saying:
“This is the second clinic we’re conducting for the younger players here in Singapore and they learn really fast. “It’s very encouraging for us too, as we see the players applying what we taught them at the previous session, and making changes to their game.”