TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) - New South Wales Waratahs defeated the Sunwolves 50-29 in a try-fest at Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday as the Japanese side fell well short in their latest bid for a first Super Rugby win of the campaign.
On a chilly afternoon in the Japanese capital, the Sunwolves were let down by errors all over the park as they failed to keep pace with the Waratahs and maintained their unwanted record of never having beaten an Australian side in Super Rugby.
Despite an up-tempo game plan from Jamie Joseph’s men, the superior quality of the Australians showed as two tries from scrum half Jake Gordon gave the Waratahs a 38-17 lead following a first half that contained seven tries.
Four more tries followed in the second half and, despite a yellow card for captain Michael Hooper with 16 minutes remaining, the Waratahs ran out comfortable winners, closing the gap on the conference leading Melbourne Rebels to one point.
The Sunwolves remained winless and rooted to the foot of the Australian conference standings as poor tackling and basic handling errors undermined the Japanese side’s early attempts to play imaginative rugby.
A storming run from Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro opened the door for Gordon to score his first try after just five minutes in an ominous warning for the Japanese outfit.
Sunwolves, inspired by centre Michael Little – who scored one try and made another for lock Sam Wykes – managed to stay in the game with the score 24-14 after 22 minutes but tries from Bryce Hegarty and a second from Gordon gave the Waratahs a commanding lead at the break.
After captain Hooper’s try four minutes in the second half, it looked like the Australians might run away with the game but a sustained 20-minute period of pressure from the Sunwolves led to tries from Semisi Masirewa and Kazuki Himeno.
Down to 14 men from the 64th minute after Hooper’s failure to release at a ruck led to a yellow card, the Waratahs were made to sweat but a late try from the outstanding Naiyaravoro in the 72rd minute wrapped up the win.
The Waratahs face the Queensland Reds in Sydney next weekend, while the Sunwolves will be hoping to finally break their duck for the season when they host the Blues.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly