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Brumbies too strong for spirited Sunwolves

TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 24: Lomano Lava Lemeki of the Sunwolves is tackled during the Super Rugby round 2 match between Sunwolves and Brumbies at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on February 24, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images for Sunwolves)

The Brumbies came from behind, in the second-half, to defeat the Sunwolves 25-32 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.

The Australian overturned a 19-15 first-half deficit to open their 2018 Super Rugby account.

This was no classic. However, the Sunwolves, arguably, had the better of the game, dominating the opening 40 minutes before tailing off in the second-half.

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The Brumbies will be relieved to get out of Japan with a win. Willie Britz and Lomano Lava Lemeki starred for the home team.

Hosea Saumaki grabbed a brace, but it was not enough for the Sunwolves as the Brumbies outscored them 17-6 in the second stanza after leading by four at the break.

The Australians outscored their hosts, five tries to three, but the Sunwolves got a last-play bonus-point when Hayden Parker kicked his second penalty.

The home team started better, scoring three tries to two before the break to lead 19-15.

Christian Lealiifano opened the scoring with an early penalty before Saumaki and Lemeki gave the hosts a 14-3, lead inside the first quarter.

Everything good for the Sunwolves came through Britz and Lemeki. Both carried with conviction. The South African was a colossus in the tight phases.

Britz was everywhere, while winger Lemeki, saw more ball in the outside channels, than the Aussie outside backs.

However, the Australians kept themselves in the game when

Lachlan Mccaffrey, in the 25th-minute, crossed for the Brumbies’ first five-pointer.
Four minutes’ later, Saumaki was in for his second try after Timothy Lafaele beat two defenders.
The Brumbies were reeling. At 19-8 down, another score would put them in a tricky spot.
It did not happen. Instead, Kyle Godwin ghosted through some poor Sunwolves defending to reduce the score to four points at the break.

A bizarre moment, early in the second-half, led to Tevita Kuridrani’s try.

Sunwolves captain and scrumhalf, Yutaka Nagare’s wild pass hit the post and was collected by the Wallaby centre for the score.
Lealiifano’s conversion gave the visitors a 19-22 lead that they would not surrender.
Ten minutes’ later, Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea, crossed for his team’s fourth try.
Parker reduced the deficit to five points with a 66th-minute penalty, but Tom Banks rendered the goal, inconsequential with a try, two minutes’ later.
With time running out, the home team attacked, but could not breach the opposition’s goal-line.
However, with seconds remaining, they were awarded a penalty near the posts.
With a chance of victory beyond them, they opted for the easy three points and a losing bonus-point.

Final score: Sunwolves 25 (19) Brumbies 32 (15)


Tries –  Saumaki (2), Lafaele
Pen – Parker (2)
Con – Nakamura, Parker
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Mccaffrey, Godwin, Kuridrani, Mann-Rea, Banks
Pen – Lealiifano
Con – Lealiifano (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds (South Africa),
Assistant Ref 2: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)


Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Yutaka Nagare (captain), 8 Willem Britz, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Ho Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Sione Teaupa.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli.