Kubota will play their fifth consecutive Top League season in 2017-18, having remained a constant in the competition after their promotion back to the top flight in 2013.
Head coach Frans Ludeke will look to his fellow countrymen Louis Fouche and Lionel Mapoe for creativeness in the backs. Pieter Labuschagne will be the prominent figure in the pack, having made more tackles than any other player in the Top League last season (198 – at least 24 more than any other player).
The breakdown was one of Kubota’s strengths last season, with Labuschagne (20) and Kubota captain Harumichi Tatekawa (19) leading the league in terms of turnovers won last term. Indeed, no team averaged more successful rucks than Kubota last season (90).
However, Ludeke and Kubota need to use the ball more effectively than they did last season, and place more faith in their back-line instead of kicking in play for territory.