Tokyo - A rampant Hurricanes began the defence of their
Super Rugby title by pulverising Japan's Sunwolves 83-17 on Saturday, scoring
13 tries in an embarrassingly lopsided game.
As it happened: Sunwolves v Huriccanes
Ardie Savea, Vince Aso and Michael Fatialofa all crashed
over twice in the Tokyo sunshine as the visitors threatened to break a slew of
records against a shambolic Sunwolves side looking to rebound from last year's
baptism of fire.
Flyhalf Otere Black added nine conversions.
"It's a good start but it's a long season," said
Hurricanes skipper TJ Perenara.
"The boys played well for big periods. Towards the back
end we were probably a little bit disappointed with how things finished but
there are a lot of positives we can take from that game."
Late tries from Shokei Kin and Willie Britz barely papered
over the cracks for the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, who won just one of 15 games in
their inaugural Super Rugby season.
Savea's elder brother Julian produced arguably the moment of
the match after 28 minutes when he ran coast-to-coast to score, living up to
his nickname "The Bus" as he smashed through two tackles to race
Jordie Barrett, younger brother of All Black star Beauden,
lit up an impressive Super Rugby debut at full-back with a brilliant pass for
Perenara to break the try line and an outrageous side-step to set up Ngani
South African Riaan Viljoen finally got the Sunwolves on the
scoreboard with six minutes left in the first half.
But after taking a 45-5 lead into halftime, the Hurricanes
continued to run riot as a Laumape lob pass allowed Blade Thomson to score
moments after the interval.
Within five minutes Fatialofa and Brad Shields added further
tries and when substitute Wes Goosen capitalised on yet another Sunwolves error
to make it 83-5 on the hour mark, the Hurricanes looked like racking up a
Kin and Britz salvaged a measure of pride for the Sunwolves
after a dreadful mismatch which will nevertheless have given new coach Filo
Tiatia very few positives to take away for the remainder of the campaign.
The Japanese expansion team were criticised after struggling
mightily in 2016, with former Japan coach Eddie Jones - now in charge of
England - slamming them as "embarrassing" after a 92-17 mauling by
Their latest thrashing will increase pressure on the
Sunwolves, especially amid suggestions teams could be axed by organisers
SANZAAR, despite expanding the competition to 18 clubs last season.
"It got a bit tough down our end," said Sunwolves
captain Ed Quirk. "We showed true grit to score two tries at the end but
we want to play that way from minute one to minute 80."
Sunwolves - Tries: Riaan Viljoen, Shokei Kin, Willie Britz Conversion: Timothy Lafaele
Hurricanes - Tries: Ardie Savea (2), Michael Fatialofa (2), Vince Aso, Ricky Riccitelli, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ngani Laumape, Blade Thomson, Brad Shields, Vince Aso, Wes Goosen
Conversions: Otere Black (9)
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hikaru Tamura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Heiichiro Ito, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami
Substitutes: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Ryohei Yamanaka, 23 Shota Emi
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Vince Aso