Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes kicked off their Super Rugby title defence with a 17-83 victory over the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo on Saturday.
The Hurricanes outscored the Sunwolves by 13 tries to 3 in a one sided contest that will no doubt see the champions on top of the standings at the end of the round.
Ardie Savea, Vince Aso and Michael Fatialofa all scored a brace of tries in the match and the other Hurricanes tries were scored by Riccitelli, Perenara, J Savea, Laumape, Thomson, Shields and Goosen.
The Hurricanes exploded into the match with four early tries as the Sunwolves struggled to contain the visiting side.
Riaan Viljoen got the Sunwolves on the scoreboard with a try in the 33rd minute which reduced the home side’s points deficit to 33 points.
When half time came the score was 45-5 in favour of the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes made a terrible start to the season in 2016 having hosted the final as they were beaten 52-10 by the Brumbies but were determined to start on a better note in 2017. They picked up where they left off in the first half after coming out after the break and almost immediately got Blade Thomson over the line.
The Hurricanes romp continued through the second half but two late tries from Shokei Kin and Willie Britz gave the home fans something to cheer about.
The Sunwolves late surge ensured that their biggest defeat remains last year’s 92-17 loss to Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, when the South African side scored 14 tries.
Next week the Hurricanes return home to Wellington where they will host Melbourne’s Rebels while the Sunwolves fly to Singapore to host South Africa’s Southern Kings.
Final Score Sunwolves 17 (5) Hurricanes 83 (45)
Tries – Viljoen, Kin, Britz
Con – Lafaela
Tries – A Savea 2, Aso 2, Riccitelli, Perenara, J Savea, Laumape, Thomson, Fatialofa 2, Shields, Goosen
Con – Black 9
Cards – M.Fatialofa (yellow 74th min)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1:Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2:Akihisa Aso
TMO : Minoru Fuji
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hikaru Tamura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Heiichiro Ito, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami
Replacements: 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 (c) , 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
Replacements : 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Wes Goosen.