The Sunwolves edged the Waratahs 29-31 to earn a famous first victory on Australian soil at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle.
Semisi Masirewa was the star for the Japanese, scoring a hat-trick as the Sunwolves won a historic first victory over the Waratahs in the Hunter Valley.
Grant Hattingh also crossed for the visitors, and Hayden Parker kicked 11 points, continuing his 100% record from the tee this season.
The flyhalf is 32 from 32 and 70 from 71 since last season: astonishing.
Michael Hooper opened the scoring soon after halftime to give Daryl Gibson’s side a slender lead, but the Tahs were left shell-shocked after a 14 point-blitz turned the game on its head.
Masirewa crossed twice in three minutes for the Sunwolves as they took control of the contest.
Parker slotted all five of his kicks to help the tourists over the line.
Video Highlights: Waratahs versus Sunwolves
New South Wales started fast, scoring twice in the opening quarter of an hour to lead 12-3.
Nick Phipps crossed after a lineout break by Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale’s deft hands, in the tackle, set up Cameron Clark.
The Japanese overturned the nine-point first-half deficit through tries from Masirewa and Hattingh and Parker’s metronomic boot to set up the win.
Beale managed a score to bring his team within touching distance, however, time ran out for the Aussies.
The last time the Sunwolves were in Australia, they blew a 16-point half-time lead to the Reds, losing because of a late penalty.
Awarded a kickable penalty in front of the posts, the Sunwolves – bizarrely – opted to kick to the corner instead of extending their two-point advantage with less than 12 minutes remaining.
The Japanese forwards, whose set pieces are always shaky, botched the attempted driving maul before squandering another chance when they were held up the following maul.
It kept the hosts in the game, who would have only needed a penalty of their own to break the Japanese hearts.
Luckily enough it did not come to pass and it was the home side who lost their nerve.
Quick-fire start for the Waratahs
There were less than 90 seconds on the clock when a well-worked back of the lineout move saw Hooper’s break set-up Phipps for an early blow.
Mack Mason, making his first start for the franchise, added the extras. Parker put his side on the board with an 11th-minute penalty before Clark scored in the corner.
Beale created the try by staying strong in the tackle and freeing his arms to get a pass away to the flyer, who crossed in the corner in the 15th minute.
Things were looking ominous for the visitors, but they held their nerve. The home team dominated territory and possession at almost 70% in the opening quarter of the game.
Sunwolves stay in touch
Brown’s men had to get their hands on the ball as well as start playing in NSW’s half. They managed to go through a sustained period of possession, bashing away with their big ball carriers.
Their hard work was rewarded when Hattingh crashed over from close range.
Parker took over the game, keeping his team on the front foot using both feet as he pinned the Tahs back.
Momentum had switched; the confident Waratahs became ragged, while the Tokyo-based franchise grew into the game.
A slick attack combining the forwards and the backs, involving Parker and Man-of-the-Match Masirewa, twice, put the Japanese ahead for the first time.
Parker sent a pass behind the line to Masirewa. The former Western Force winger collected the ball and gave it to Hendrik Tui.
Tui linked with Dan Pryor using a wonderful wrap-around offload in the tackle to his skipper on the touchline.
Newsome jumped inside allowing Pryor to break into the 22 before passing to the supporting Masirewa to score. It was a beautiful free-flowing move.
A late Mason penalty reduced the gap to two at the break.
Skill and Sloppiness give Sunwolves the edge
Once again the home team came out firing. Rob Simmons’ skilful pass found Newsome on the touchline to start the attack.
Several phases later Hooper snuck over from close range. The lead was short-lived.
Some excellent work by Parker, sucking in Beale and Newsome, opened up the space in midfield for Masirewa’s second.
The 26-year-old burst through a big hole and raced away down the right-hand sideline and swallow-dived inside the corner flag to level the scores at 22-all.
The magnificent Masirewa was at it again. Some sloppy passing was seized upon by the Fijian, who collected a rolling ball and sped away under the posts.
Parker’s conversion made it a two-score game, but Beale’s quick-thinking saw the Waratahs cut the deficit.
A series of sustained pressure by the Tahs, who were camped inside the opposition’s 22, ended when Beale took a quick-tap penalty.
He beat two defenders to score next to the posts in the 65th minute; he converted his try which set up the tense finale.
The Waratahs threw everything they had at their opponents, but they could not find a winner.
Final Score: Waratahs 29 (15) Sunwolves 31 (17)
Tries – Phipps, Clark, Hooper, Beale
Pen – Mason
Con – Mason (2), Beale
Tries – Hattingh, Masirewa (3)
Pen – Parker
Con – Parker (4)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2: Egon Seconds
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Mack Mason, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Tom Staniforth, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, John Folau
15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Harumichi Tatakawa, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Dan Pryor (c), 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Grant Hattingh, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Takuya Yamasawa, 23 Hosea Saumaki