Top League Profiles 2017-18: Canon Eagles
Top League Profiles 2017-18
2017-18 Introduction: In the 2016-17 season, Canon Eagles finished seventh overall on the final Japan Rugby Top League table on 37 points with 8 wins and 7 losses. After a poor start to the season, Canon won their last five games to finish with more wins than losses. The challenge this year, however, will be to have a better start to the season.
Inconsistency last season has resulted in restructuring at Canon over the off-season with South African Grant Bashford coming in as the new head coach while there has been considerable comings and goings in the player ranks. One important new signing is that of Japan and Sunwolves playmaker Yu Tamura who joins the Eagles this season after six years with NEC. The team will also rely on the experience of the senior and representative players in the squad if Canon are truly going to challenge the big clubs in the league. Hooker Yusuke Niwai, prop Yasuo Yamaji, lock Samuela Anise, new back-rower Ed Quirk, centre Michael Bond and Tamura have all played with either the Sunwolves or the Japan national side over the past 12 months and they will have to set the standard for the younger players in the squad to follow. Other players in the squad that are going to have an important role to play as the season rolls on include former Japan captain and back-rower Takashi Kikutani, centres Tim Bennetts and Ryohei Mitomo and Japan Sevens representative in fullback Kosuke Hashino.
The Coach: The new head coach at Canon for the 2017-18 season is Durban-born Grant Bashford (20/10/1967).
The Captain: The captain at Canon for 2017-18 is hooker Yusuke Niwai. He is in his fourth year with the club and has played with the Sunwolves and the full Japan side. Meanwhile, flanker Muneyuki Uematsu is the vice-captain in the forwards and centre Tim Bennetts is the vice-captain in the backs.
The 2017-18 Squad: (48) the list starts with captain and vice-captains and continues through forwards and backs in order from props to fullbacks. All family names come last.
Yusuke Niwai (c), Muneyuki Uematsu (v-c), Tim Bennetts (v-c). Forwards: Mitsugu Yamamoto, Yasuo Yamaji, Takatoshi Sugawara, Akira Jo, Satoshi Ueda, Alaimoana Motuapuaka, Shinobu Takashima, Kanta Higashionna, Suguru Igarashi, Tetsuya Shitara, Daisuke Kaneko, Shinya Shimizu, Takashi Kikutani, Samuela Anise, Shohei Yuzawa, Suguru Hidaka, Corey Thomas, Finau Tupa, Naoto Shimada, Edward Quirk, Ryota Suginaga, Shinichi Tanaka and Kane Falconer. Backs: Ryota Takagi, Takeru Fukui, Toshiki Amano, Koki Arai, Yuya Noguchi, Yu Tamura, Juan-Claude Roos, Tetsu Uehara, Kentaro Nagatomi, Ryohei Mitomo, Michael Bond, Richard Havili, Kenyu Fujimoto, Kojiro Fujichika, Taisei Hayashi, Tokiro Harada, Hosea Saumaki, Kentaro Kobayashi, Aiban Mishima, Amanaki Saumaki, Kosuke Hashino and Naoki Moriya. Coach: Grant Bashford (49).