Standout Sunwolf settling in

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Just by virtue of his appearance, Ed Quirk is a standout in Japanese Super Rugby.

The former Reds backrower is easy to spot with his flamed hair and big frame, and so far his fresh start is doing him wonders.

Quirk has brought a competitive edge to Tokyo, a reputation that has earned him the moniker “Abbatoir” in some circles.

He has provided the mongrel edge the new Super Rugby franchise needs, on their way to producing some surprising results in the opening three weeks.

Quirk is living out of Brisbane for the first time in his life and on-field changes have been as big as off-field ones for the 24-year-old, in an entirely new country.

“There isn’t too many similarities that you can pick on - the structure has been very open with how the team,” he said.

“It’s one in all in and there’s no team and staff ,it’s everyone as one moving together.”

“It’s different franchises, different stuff this has  just been a new experience and I’m not talking down anything (I’ve had in the past).

"It’s so different here, it’s working so well, it’s just a good change.”

Injuries cruelled his final seasons with the Reds and Quirk said he was relishing the chance to start fresh.

“Having a knee injury knocked me out for a bit and it was best decision for me to get here,” he said.

“And what a place to do get a fresh start - the first Super Rugby team in Japan.

"I just want to go back to enjoying Rugby, that’s why I play the game. It's the perfect revamp.

“I’m definitely enjoying my rugby.”

After pulling together a team against the clock, the Sunwolves have been more than competitive in their opening two matches and Quirk said they wouldn't be slipping off anytime doon.

“Everyone’s here for a reason we can all play rugby and it’s a good culture about enjoying yourself,” he said.

“We never once thought we’re just here to be a part of it all. We knew we were going to have a crack early on to win some games.”

Quirk will be facing plenty of familiar faces this weekend, with the Melbourne Rebels the first Australasian team to travel to Tokyo.

That in itself won’t be too different for Quirk, who has faced Melbourne as foes plenty of times, including former housemate Dom Shipperley, though he never thought they’d be crossing paths in Tokyo.

“That’s why you play the game for the mates you make around the world," he said.

“We were never thinking we’d be running into each other in Tokyo.”