Three Kiwis with southern Super Rugby roots have been included in a much-changed Sunwolves squad for 2018.
Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.
New coach Jamie Joseph has included fullback Robbie Robinson, first five-eighth Hayden Parker and prop Craig Millar in an improved-looking squad for the Sunwolves' third season.
All three New Zealanders have represented the Highlanders, where Joseph and his Sunwolves assistant, Tony Brown, have both previously been the head coach.
Robinson, 28, enjoyed a lengthy NPC stint at Southland and split his Super Rugby loyalties between the Highlanders and the Chiefs, where he won two titles. He has since played three seasons of club rugby in Japan.
Parker and Millar have both been Highlanders squad members for the last three seasons but missed selection for next year's competition.
Joseph has set his sights on a top-five finish despite the Sunwolves winning just two games last year and finishing second last overall.
Sunwolves prop Keita Inagaki is tackled by Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot during the Super Rugby rugby match in Hamilton.
It was a slight improvement on their maiden season in 2015, when they recorded a lone win and a draw.
Joseph has pledged to play attacking rugby with a squad which has also introduced a sprinkling of South African players along with proven Chiefs loose forward Michael Leitch.
"The slogan 'Top Five in 2018' reflects our goals and aspirations for next season," said Joseph, who is also the Japan national team coach.
"There will be total consistency in the way Japan and the Sunwolves play."
Parker and Millar are among just three players who won't be eligible to play for Japan at the 2019 World Cup, which they host.
The Tokyo-based Sunwolves are in part of the five-team Australian conference in 2018.
Sunwolves squad for 2018: Keita Inagaki, Asaeli Aivalu, Jiwon Koo, Ruan Smith, Craig Millar, Jaba Bradvadze, Shota Horie, Grant Hattingh, Sam Wykes, Kazuki Imeno, Uwe Helu, Edward Quirk, Shunsuke Nunomaki, Wimpie van der Walt, Willem Britz, Michael Leitch, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yu Tamura, Hayden Parker, Harumichi Tatekawa, Timoth Lafaele, Gerhard van den Heever, Kenki Fukuoka, Akihit Yamada, Lamano Lava Lemeki, Robbie Robinson.