Japan’s Sunwolves earned back to back wins for the first time in their history by beating the Stormers 26-23 at Mong Kok Stadium in Hong Kong with a late drop goal from Hayden Parker.
The match was the first ever Super rugby match to be played in Hong Kong and was held in the Asian region in order to reduce travel for teams.
The Sunwolves ended a nine match losing streak last week by beating the Queensland Reds last weekend in Tokyo and followed it up with a first ever victory over the Stormers.
The Sunwolves and Stormers had played each other four times prior to this contest and in their second ever clash they played to a 17 all draw in Singapore. Both teams kicked late penalties in the final ten minutes and the match looked to be headed for a second draw at 23 all.
In extra time after defending several phases of Stormers attack the Sunwolves turned the ball over and ran it into the Stormers 22. The Stormers defence scrambled to get back but the Japanese side recycled the ball back to Hayden Parker who slotted the match winning drop goal.
The result is the Sunwolves second win for 2018 after 11 matches and the Stormers 8th loss from 13 matches.
The Stormers made the better start to the match and went out to a 10-17 lead but like in last week’s Sunwolves victory over the Reds the Japanese side saved themselves for the final quarter.
The Sunwolves outscored the South African side 16-6 in the second half as the Stormers put in an error prone performance.
The Stormers opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Dillyn Leyds raced down the wing and scored in the corner. Stormers flyhalf, Jean-Luc du Preez failed to add the conversion.
The Stormers followed that up with a second try when JJ Engelbrecht intercepted a Sunwolves pass and raced for the posts with the ball. This time Du Preez was successful with the conversion.
The Sunwolves hit back immediately though as Hayden Parker broke through and scored the Japanese side’s first try. Parker added the conversion to cut the Stormers lead at 12-7.
Leyds scored his second try by chasing a grubber by scrum half Dewaldt Duvenage but Du Plessis was unable to add the conversion.
The final points in the first half were scored with a penalty by Parker.
In the second half the Sunwolves leveled the scores with a try from Grant Hattingh and conversion from Parker.
In the 65th minute the Sunwolves went into the lead for the first time as Parker slotted his second penalty. However just three minutes later the Stormers leveled the scores at 20-20 with a penalty from SP Marais.
Stormers fullback Marais added a second penalty in the 74th minute from 55m out which put the South African side ahead.
Again though Parker kicked a penalty which leveled the scores and the match appeared to be set to end in a draw.
With a minute remaining the Stormers started working the ball through the phases and pressing the Sunwolves gradually back. The Stormers were patient and seemed happy to wait for a penalty.
Instead the Sunwolves turned the ball over and they launched an attack of their own which quickly got the ball into the Stormers end of the field where they launched a couple of attacks on the wing.
As the Stormers defensive structure regrouped Parker dropped back and launched his low 35m drop goal that won the match.
Next week in the 15th round the Stormers host the Lions back at home in Cape Town while the Sunwolves play the Rebels in Melbourne.
Final Score Sunwolves 26 (10) Stormers 23 (17)
Tries -H. Parker, G.Hattingh,
Pen – H.Parker 3
Con -H.Parker 2
Drop – H.Parker
Tries – D.Leyds 2, JJ Engelbrecht
Pen – SP Marais 2
Con – J-L du Plessis
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Shuhei Kubo
Assistant Ref 2: Tasuku Kawara
TMO: Minoru Fuji
15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Kenki Fukuoka, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Edward Quirk (captain), 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Shintaro Ishihara
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze 17 Craig Millar, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Jason Emery
15 SP Marais, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Carlu Sadie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 EW Viljoen.