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Reds : Sunwolves were clearly the better team

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Reds Super rugby head coach Brad Thorn has admitted that the Sunwolves were the better team in their loss to the Japanese side.

Thorn’s Reds were beaten 63-28 in Tokyo by the Sunwolves on Saturday as the Japan side earned their first win of the season.

The Reds loss took their record in 2018 to six losses from 10 matches this season.

The home side outscored the Reds six tries to four, with the boot of flyhalf Hayden Parker contributing a further 31 points to his side through seven penalty goals and five conversions.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Credit to the Sunwolves, they were clearly the better team today. We started poorly and never recovered.

“It’s a long way to come to dish up a performance like that. It’s incredibly disappointing.

“Two weeks ago we beat the best team in the South African conference and then today we lost to the Sunwolves. Those performances were worlds apart.

“We’ve got a young group and they’re learning how tough this competition is and how you need to prepare and front up each week. It’s an area of growth for this team.”

The game hung in the balance in the early stages of the match, but errors and penalties cost the Reds, as they allowed a 29-14 lead at half time.

The Sunwolves showed their intentions early in the match, applying pressure to the Reds defensively and at the breakdown. The tactic worked, as they forced the Reds into giving away early penalties and converted those opportunities into points through the sure boot of Parker.

The home side took a 6-0 lead early, but the Reds hit back in the ninth minute with a try to Brandon Paenga-Amosa off the back of a rolling maul to take the lead 7-6.

The Sunwolves hit back with another penalty goal five minutes later, to regain the lead.

The Reds scored again off the back of a rolling maul in the 20th minute, with Ben Lucas darting from the back to touch down. Lance kicked the conversion and the Reds pushed out to a 14-9 lead, but it was their last scoring play of the first half.

The Sunwolves took control of the match in the late stages of the half, scoring a further two converted tries and two penalty goals to take a comfortable lead into the break.

It was a similar story in the second half, as the Sunwolves dictated terms and notched a further four tries, including a penalty try for a high tackle, which resulted in a yellow card to replacement centre Duncan Paia’aua.

The Reds staged a late attempt at a comeback with Number 8 Angus Scott-Young scoring a typical forwards’ try from short range and winger Filipo Daugunu tallying an impressive individual 60-metre effort.

The Reds will hit the road again next week as they travel to Wellington to take on the Hurricanes on Friday 18 May.

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