NEC Green Rockets have struggled in recent years, finishing in bottom half of the table in each of the last three campaigns having finished in the top half of the table in all but one of the previous 11 top-flight seasons.
NEC lacked penetrative power and creativity in the backs last season, beating fewer opposing defenders per game last term than any other team (15.7). The departures of Japan and Sunwolves duo Yu Tamura and Kaito Shigeno to Canon and Toyota Verblitz respectively will be huge blow for the Chiba-based side this term.
Winger Teruya Goto will be the player to watch in the backs this season after being called up to the Sunwolves Super Rugby squad this term. Only two players averaged more metres made in the Top League last season than the former Japan sevens man.
Head coach Peter Russell will want to address his side’s poor discipline that saw them concede the most penalties per game in the Top League (10.9). If not, it could be another miserable season for Green Rockets.