USA captain Todd Clever will start at blindside flanker for the Suntory Sungoliath as his cub takes on Sanyo in the clash of two of the top three teams in the Japan Top League.
Clever was one of the few USA players who went right back into his club's starting lineup a week after the end of the November tour. Clever started in the #6 jersey for Suntory as they defeated Kintetsu 57-13 last weekend.
"This is the big weekend," Clever told RUGBYMag.com, adding that it's a big transition to go from the Eagles to Suntory, including different game plans. "We play a lot more open style and a lot of running rugby. Good to get the ball in hand. We got the victory and we have a tough game this weekend."
Suntory is leading the league in offense, and second in the league in defense, while Sanyo is #1 defensively and #2 in attack.
"We started the season kind of slow, getting into the style of play, how they're reffing it and how we're playing it," Clever said. "It's paying off now and the true test comes in the next couple of weeks. This should be a pretty exciting game"
Listen to comments from Todd Clever about the rugby culture in Japan.
Also this past weekend, Chris Wyles started at fullback as Saracens won 26-14 over Harlequins. Taku Ngwenya scored a try to help Biarritz over Bougoin 37-20. Kevin Swiryn's Agen beat Brive 30-12, and Seta Tuilevuka's Montpellier lost to Toulon 29-13.
This weekend Round Three of the Heineken Cup (the European Cup) and the Amlin Challenge Cup kicks off, with several USA players in action.