Top League Profiles 2017-18: Munakata Sanix Blues
Top League Profiles 2017-18
Munakata Sanix Blues
2017-18 Introduction: In the 2016-17 season, Munakata Sanix Blues finished eleventh overall on the final Japan Rugby Top League table on 29 points with seven wins and eight losses. After gaining promotion back into Top League last season, Sanix proved to be the success story of the league with a solid seven wins giving them a comfortable mid-table finish.
The Blues have always been a team with a lot of potential but just have not been able to realise this talent over the years in Top League. It is going to be another tough year for Sanix and they will have to hit the ground running and players like South Korean prop Shin Dong-Won, captain and back-rower Nobuyoshi Arai, halfback Satoru Sawatari and utility backs Bryce Robins and Karne Hesketh will have to make an impact. New players at Munakata this season include former England lock Geoff Parling, centre Andre Taylor who comes across from Kintetsu and Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen. There is a good spirit in this side and if they can build on the positive outcomes from last season they will trouble a lot of the more fancied outfits in the competition.
The Coach: 48-year-old Yuichiro Fujii is in his thirteenth year as the head coach at Sanix in the 2017-18 season. He is the longest-serving coach in the league after taking on the role in the 2005-6 season.
The Captain: Back-rower Nobuyoshi Arai is the captain at Sanix in the 2017-18 season. The vice-captain in the forwards is hooker Yasunori Hoshimoto and the vice-captain in the backs is wing Benjamin Ray Yagi.
The 2017-18 Squad: (43) 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.
Nobuyoshi Arai (c), Yasunori Hoshimoto (v-c, forwards) and Benjamin Ray Yagi (v-c backs). Forwards: Takahiro Sugiura, Shin Dong-Won, Daichi Tomoeda, Hiraku Ishizawa, Hencus van Wyk, Shunsuke Tani, Kota Kumamoto, Nozomi Kuraya, Hiroaki Shirahama, Taro Akita, Geoff Parling, Ryuichiro Fukutsubo, Shunya Goto, Toshihiro Nishii, Wataru Niimoto, Kazuki Kato, Ryuto Kosugi, Eito Tamura, Yusuke Hamazato, Satoshi Tsuruoka, Shohei Shitayama, Jacques Potgieter and Michi Kanado. Backs: Satoru Sawatari, Kohei Hamazato, Tasuku Kinjo, Hiroshi Tashiro, Taiki Murakami, Tatsuya Fukuzaki, Bryce Robins, Shusaku Hamazato, Silvia Ahio, Andre Taylor, Wang Soo-Young, Andre Esterhuizen, Hiroki Yamada, Karne Hesketh, Andrew Everingham, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Tarrig Yoichi Fujita. Coach: Yuichiro Fujii (48).