Top League Profiles 2017-18: Toshiba Brave Lupus

Top League Profiles 2017-18
Toshiba Brave Lupus

2017-18 Introduction: In the 2016-17 season, Toshiba Brave Lupus finished a frustrating ninth overall on the final Japan Rugby Top League table on 33 points with 6 wins and 9 losses. In the previous 13 editions of Top League, Toshiba had never finished outside the top three, collecting five titles and finishing runner-up a further three times.

For the Brave Lupus, it is back to the future with Tomohiro Segawa retuning as head coach to replace Teppei Tomioka who was at the helm for the nadir of a season last year. There are very few new faces in the squad for the new season as Segawa stays with the established group in an effort to re-find the mojo that has made Toshiba the most successful side in Top League history. The personnel is there and the losses last year remain inexplicable, so all the names on this compact team list will have to perform this year. Former All Black centre Richard Kahui is the new captain and he will have to lead from the front. Overall, the strength at Toshiba lies up front and the forwards will be instrumental in how Toshiba fare. Japan internationals such as props Takuma Asahara, Masataka Mikami and Yu Chinen, locks Hitoshi Ono and Kyosuke Kajikawa and back-rowers Michael Leitch, Yoshitaka Tokunaga and Hiroki Yamamoto will be important figures in the pack. Elsewhere, flanker Liam Messam and utility back Cory Jane will have to have a huge impact to get Toshiba back to the glory days of the recent past.

The Coach: Tomohiro Segawa is the new head coach at Toshiba for the 2017-18 season. He was previously head coach at Toshiba from 2007-08 to 2010-11 before moving on to coach the Japan Sevens.

The Captain: Former All Black centre Richard Kahui is the new captain at Toshiba for the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, hooker Hiroki Yuhara is the vice-captain in the forwards and centre Yoshikazu Morita is the vice-captain in the backs.

The 2017-18 Squad: (43) The list starts with captain and vice-captains and then continues through forwards and backs in order from props to fullbacks.

Richard Kahui (c), Hiroki Yuhara (v-c), Yoshikazu Morita (v-c). Forwards: Takuma Asahara, Masataka Mikami, Keiichi Tanaka, Yu Chinen, Kim Gwan-Te, Ryota Fukamura, Futoshi Mori, Ren Murayama, Daigo Hashimoto, Hitoshi Ono, Kyosuke Kajikawa, Keisuke Matsuda, Naohiro Kotaki, James Moore, Liam Messam, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Michael Leitch, Lee Song-Chang, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Takahiro Fujita and Hiroki Yamamoto. Backs: Jun Fujii, Takahiro Ogawa, Shuhei Yamaguchi, Keita Fujiwara, Coenraad van Wyk, Hayata Nakao, Taiki Watanabe, Keisuke Masuda, Tsuyoshi Higashiguchi, Cory Jane, Takehisa Usuzuki, Shin Ito, Shuhei Oshima, Shohei Toyoshima, Nicolas Kraska, Kojiro Tani, Hisayoshi Matsuoka, Kai Ishii and Taiki Matsunobu. Coach: Tomohiro Segawa (45).