Wallabies centurion Matt Giteau is set to make his Top League debut on Friday night, named for Suntory.
Giteau will unite with fellow Wallabies legend George Smith in the defending champions’ side, when they take on the Canon Eagles in their season opener.
Adam Ashley-Cooper will come off the bench for Kobe Steel in his first Japanese outing, after he was released from his Top 14 side Bordeaux last season.
Game day.. Looking forward to my first Japanese Top League game tonight for @sungoliath ..— Matt Giteau 🇦🇺 (@giteau_rugby) August 18, 2017
Anthony Faingaa will start at outside centre for Kintetsu Liners, against a Toyota Industries Shuttles, led by his former Reds teammate Sam Greene.
There’ll be no David Pocock in round one, but Berrick Barnes will steer Panasonic at flyhalf, among a number of Aussies in the Wild Knights.
Digby Ioane, who previously played for the relegated Honda Heat, will come off the bench for last year’s runner-up side.
Capped Wallaby Daniel Heenan will be at lock for Panasonic in the matchup as well.
The French Top 14 will get underway next weekend, with the UK Premiership and Pro14 kick off on the first weekend of September.