The Sunwolves have played the Rebels five times in Super Rugby since 2016, the Sunwolves have won no matches and all five.
This weekend the match will be played in Tokyo which is home for the Sunwolves and the venue where the teams have met twice before.
- The Rebels have won each of their five previous Super Rugby games against the Sunwolves, outscoring them by at least 20 points on each occasion.
- The Sunwolves have lost their last eight home games in succession in Super Rugby; their previous home win came in Round 17 of the 2018 campaign against the Bulls.
- The Melbourne Rebels have won their season opener in six of the last seven Super Rugby campaigns, including each of their previous two.
- Melbourne have conceded just seven offloads per game last Super Rugby season, fewer than any other team in the competition; though, the Sunwolves were one of only five teams to make nine or more offloads per game in that period.
- Semisi Masirewa (Sunwolves) gained 8.7m per carry in the 2019 Super Rugby campaign, the most of any of the 82 players to have made at least 100 carries throughout the season.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in the Japanese leg of the 25th Anniversary of Super Rugby between the Sunwolves and the Melbourne Rebels at Level5 Stadium, Fukuoka.
3.00: The Rebels win their lineout, which was on their 22, and drive forward.
4.00: Matt To’omua plays the ball off his feet and is penalised. A lineout on the Rebels’ 22.
6.00: It’s the Rebels who win the penalty at the breakdown by Isi Naisarani.
7.00: The Sunwolves look to keep the ball in hand, they look plucky and ready to rumble. Another kick-pass by the hosts, but the ball cannot be gathered.
8.00: Good clearance from To’omua, clearing to the halfway line.
9.00: TRY! Keisuke Moriya, the skipper, dots down for the opening score. The move started when Rudy Paige put Siosaia Fifita away with a delayed pass. Kotaro Yatabe and Garth April both went close before Ben Te’o put his centre partner in for the try. 5-0
11.00: MISS! The conversion hits the post. 5-0
13.00: The Rebels have pinned the Sunwolves back in their 22 with a defensive lineout.
14.00: Jake Schatz, the co-captain, goes off his feet on his team’s 22. To’omua calls for the tee.
15.00: PENALTY! No problem for the standoff. 5-3
17.00: An attacking lineout for the Sunwolves on the visitor’s line.
18.00: TRY! Jarred Adams flops over the whitewash after a powerful 10-man driving maul. 10-3
19.00: CONVERSION! Garth April adds the extras. 12-3
22.00: Massive scrum from the Rebels, pushing the hosts off the ball and winning the penalty.
23.00: Reece Hodge puts the ball near the corner.
24.00: TRY! Great response from the Australians. This time they go to their driving maul, wheeling to the right, then left before Anaru Rangi dropped over the try-line. 12-8
25.00: MISS! To’omua cannot add the two. 12-8
27.00: TRY! A slick backline move sees April put Tautalatasi Tasi away down the left-hand touchline for the home team’s third five-pointer of the afternoon. 17-8
28.00: CONVERSION! April’s touchline kick fades through the uprights. 19-8
30.00: The Rebels are working into the opposition’s half.
31.00: TRY! Dane Haylett-Petty takes Billy Meakes’ deft offload, bounces a defender, and dives over for the try. 19-13
32.00: MISS! To’omua hits the left-hand post. 19-13
34.00: Scrum reset. Penalty to the hosts, April calls for the tee.
36.00: PENALTY! April makes no mistake. 22-13
38.00: Hodge kicks the penalty to the corner.
40.00: The Rebels win another penalty for side entry to the maul. Hodge kicks to the corner again.
42.00: Superb defending by the Sunwolves, they kept the Rebels out with some good counter-mauling, winning the penalty to relieve the pressure. April puts the ball into touch.
The halftime score was Sunwolves 22 Rebels 13
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Japan.
41.00: TRY! James Dargaville collects a bouncing ball inside his half and races down the touchline, slipping Angus Cottrell’s tackle to score near the posts. What a start! 27-13
43.00: CONVERSION! April fades another kick through the sticks. 29-13
46.00: The hosts have a defensive scrum inside their 22.
47.00: The scrum is reset.
49.00: A bit of push and shove after the Sunwolves win the scrum-penalty for wheeling. Cottrell gets into another scuffle as the flank’s temperature reaches boiling point.
50.00: Excellent work by the local hero Shunsuke Nunomaki to win the penalty at the breakdown. The flanker, who grew up down the road, just became a father after his wife gave birth to twins.
52.00: Big mistake from Hodge, who overcooks his penalty out in-goal. The Sunwolves dodge a bullet.
53.00: The Rebels’ pack saves Hodge’s bacon, winning another scrum-penalty; this time Hodge does not go for distance rather accuracy.
54.00: A mistake at the lineout by the Melbourne franchise kills another guilt-edged opportunity.
55.00: This time the Sunwolves’ pack wins the penalty.
57.00: A 12-phase attack ends with a big hit by Meakes. Hodge kicks the ball down the field, but the Sunwolves scramble defending is good, getting back to win the ball and clear the danger.
59.00: Andrew Kellaway is tackled inside his in-goal area; five-metre scrum to the hosts, this could be the ball-game.
61.00: TRY! Game over! It was a wonderful 8-9-10 move from the scrum as Schatz picked up from the base of the scrum, popped to Naoto Saito, who had just entered the game. The substitute halfback played a delayed pass to April, who ghosted through a big gap to score.
62.00: CONVERSION! April converts his score. 36-13
64.00: TRY! Andrew Kellaway kicks, regathers, and dots down after Dargaville let the ball bounce around the in-goal area. 36-18
66.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good; maybe there is hope for the Aussies. 36-20
70.00: Time is running out for the visitors.
73.00: The Rebels are running out of steam, going backwards as they search for a losing bonus-point.
76.00: TRY! Andrew Deegan scores under the posts. Conversion! Hodge takes the kick, quickly. Can the visitors find a way? 36-27
78.00: Kelleway almost goes through. Saito and April get back to make two try-saving tackles, the halfback made the important tackle on Luke Jones, who lost the ball forward with the try-line in his sights.
81.00: The Sunwolves keep the ball for 10 phases, going backwards 10 metres, however, but they run out the clock and enjoy a famous victory over the Rebels.
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The final score is Sunwolves 36 (22) Rebels 27 (13)
Tries – Moriya, Adams, Tasi, Dargaville, April
Pen – April
Con – April (4)
Tries – Rangi, Haylett-Petty, Kellaway, Deegan
Pen – To’omua
Con – To’omua, Hodge
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Shuhei Kubo
Assistant Ref 2: Tasuku Kawahara
TMO: Minoru Fuji
15 James Dargaville, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Keisuke Moriya (co-captain), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (co-captain), 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Brendon O’Connor, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conraad Van Vuuren, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Jarred Adams.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Mitch Jacobson, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Shogo Nakano, 23 Johannes Engelbrecht.
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Andrew Kellaway, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Rob Leota, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Replacements: 16 Steve Misa, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Theo Strang, 23 Andrew Deegan