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March 24, 2017 8:55

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14:50 5 March 2017

Rugby: Tanaka, Horie to miss Sunwolves' games in South Africa

By Rich Freeman
SINGAPORE, March 5, Kyodo

The Sunwolves named a 25-man squad Sunday that travels to South Africa to take on the Cheetahs and Bulls in Bloemfontein and Pretoria, respectively.

While the rest of the squad that played the Kings in Singapore on Saturday evening flew early Sunday morning to Johannesburg, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shota Horie, Takeshi Hino and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi returned to Japan.

Hino was listed by the side as being injured, while Taulagi, who only joined the side on Tuesday, was omitted for "operational reasons."

Tanaka and Horie's absence is in line with Brave Blossoms head coach Jamie Joseph and Sunwolves boss Filo Tiatia decision to limit the workload of key national team players.

"Due to the long season ahead including the national team program, both Jamie Joseph and I have been discussing the importance of managing the players and their respective workloads and welfare," Tiatia said.

"Both Fumiaki Tanaka and Shota Horie have had an arduous rugby playing program of late and considering their needs and the balance of the team, the plan was always to provide a rest period for these players at this time."

"This will provide us an opportunity to provide valuable playing time for some of our other valued team members at hooker and scrumhalf as well as get these senior players fresh and ready when the national program needs them the most."

"The playing group have all bought into our program of selection and availability and this is exciting for some of our developing players."

With just one hooker in the squad in Yusuke Niwai, the Sunwolves are likely to send a few more players directly from Japan to South Africa for the two games, which will both be played at altitude.

==Kyodo

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