Cape Town - The Sunwolves recorded their first win ever in Super Rugby
as they outsmarted fellow new boys the Jaguares 36-28 in Tokyo on Saturday.
Harumichi Tatekawa's late try put the seal on a momentous
win for the Sunwolves in front of their fans in Tokyo.
Despite being outscored by the Jaguares four tries to three,
the Sunwolves were always in control thanks to the boot of Tusi Pisi, who
kicked four penalties and three conversions, not to take anything away from the
spirited Sunwolves attack. The visitors, who are known for the robust hard
running rugby, were met the never-give-up attitude of Mark Hammett's side.
Had Argentina international Juan Martín Hernández's form off
the kicking tee been better it could have allowed the visitors to remain within
reach of the Sunwolves, who rebounded impressively from last week's heavy loss
to the Cheetahs.
The brilliance and skilful execution of Pisi allowed the
Sunwolves' backline to break tackles and beat defenders with ease. Neither side
looked like a side who had been travelling for last three weeks.
Pisi added the first points when Guido Petti was penalised
at ruck time, the pivot converting his attempt to hand the home side an early
The Jaguares made their intentions clear early on to throw
everything at the fellow newcomers, as the Sunwolves were called on to make
most of the tackling in the opening quarter.
A pick up and drive from captain Agustín Creevy saw the
hooker muscle his way over for the first try of the match, although the
subsequent conversion was missed by Hernández.
Minutes later a Jerónimo de la Fuente break up against the
touchline allowed the outside centre to put Lucas González Amorosino into space
and the left winger's pace was just too good for Mifiposeti Paea as he crossed
for the Jaguares' second try, Hernández missing from the tee once again as the
visitors lead was extended to 10-3.
The Jaguares' defence were caught napping as Yasutaka
Sasakura beat Ramiro Moyano allowing the home side to dot down in the corner
much to the delight of the home crowd, Pisi's conversion from a difficult angle
resulting in the scores being levelled at 10-10.
A long-range penalty conversion from Pisi handed the
Sunwolves a three-point lead at 13-10 as the last five minutes of the half
Replacement fullback Emiliano Boffelli, on early for
Joaquín Tuculet, re-gathered a Moyano chip kick a few metres from the
Sunwolves' try line, and the number fifteen powered his way over the whitewash
for his side's third try. Hernández's poor kicking form continued as he missed
the conversion but the Jaguares were ahead at 15-13.
Hernández did however manage to get on the scoresheet with a
penalty conversion on the stroke of half-time to take the score to 18-13 as the
players headed into the locker rooms.
Facundo Isa's intercept of an inside ball from Derek
Carpenter saw the back-row run in untouched to dot down under the uprights,
Hernández adding the extras and to take the score to 25-16.
However excellent vision from playmaker Pisi saw him evade
the rushing Jaguares' defence which resulted in Carpenter scoring the second
try for the Sunwolves, Pisi converting the try and reduced the visitors' lead
As the match approached the final whistle it was a battle
between Pisi and Hernández which saw the lead exchanging hands a few times.
Pisi got the better of his opposite number, the Samoan
international handing the home side a slender 29-28 one-point lead as they
entered the last ten minutes.
The home crowd got behind their team in the closing stages
and were duly rewarded- a five-metre scrum allowing Pisi to send Tatekawa over
for the winning try, as Pisi's conversion saw the home side confirm an emphatic
and memorable win for Japanese rugby.
Tries: Yasutaka Sasakura, Derek Carpenter, Harumichi Tatekawa
Conversions: Tusi Pisi (3)
Penalties: Pisi (4), Riaan Viljoen
Tries: Agustin Creevy, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Emiliano Boffelli, Facundo Isa
Conversion: Juan Martin Hernandez
Penalties: Hernandez (2)
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Mifiposeti Paea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Yoshiya Hosoda, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Masataka Mikami
Substitutes: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Talyo Ando, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Juan Cruz Guillemain, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Augustin Creevy (captain), 1 Felipe Arregui
Substitutes: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20-Rodrigo Báez, 21Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquín Paz, 23 Emiliano Boffelli