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Waratahs beat Sunwolves in Tokyo

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The Sunwolves and the Waratahs both lost their season-opening matches last week, so they will be keen to pick up a W, this weekend.

The Sunwolves have played the Waratahs three times since 2016 and the Australians have won all three matches, scoring 50 points or more, every time.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

1.00: PEEEEP! Bernard Foley kicks off, into a breeze, to get the game underway at the Prince Chichibunomiya Stadium.

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2.00: The Tahs are almost over, but a knock on killed the opportunity.

4.00: The Aussies are on the charge after Jack Dempsey’s intercept. Michael Hooper arrives first to the breakdown, winning the penalty. Foley boots the ball to the 22.

6.00: Semisi Masirewa makes a superb try-saving tackle on Curtis Rona in the left-hand corner. The winger knocked the ball out of Rona’s hand as he was diving over by the corner flag.

8.00: TRY! Ryoto Nakamura intercepts and sprints into the Waratahs’ half. He started to run out of gas, but staying composed, he waited for support and found it in Gerhard van den Heever. 5-0

9.00: CONVERSION! Hayden Parker, the human metronome, slots the kick. 7-0

10.00: TRY! Beale strolls in for a simple five-pointer; that was poor from the Sunwolves. 7-5

12.00: CONVERSION! Foley levels. 7-all

14.00: There is not much defence – as one would come to expect in this rivalry.

15.00: Dempsey wins the penalty, however, the Tahs opt for a scrum, not for the corner or poles.

16.00: HUGE SCRUM by the home team. They bulldoze the Waratahs’ pack and win the penalty. They take it quickly and then boot the ball down the field, setting up a lineout.

17.00: The Sunwolves win a penalty and they will take a shot at goal.

18.00: PENALTY! Parker does not miss from in front – ever. 10-7

20.00: The visitors have a scrum inside the Japanese 22.

21.00: Another scrum-penalty to the Sunwolves. They get another tighthead and penalty, instead. This is some turnaround after last week’s beasting from the Sharks. They gave away eight scrum-penalties to the South Africans. They are rampant in the early stages, here.

23.00: Scrum time!

24.00: TRY! Israel Folau strolls over from Karmichael Hunt’s pass. Hunt slipped Parker’s tackle which gave Folau space, on the outside. 10-12

25.00: MISS! Foley’s attempt is wide. 10-12

27.00: Parker intercepts a rolling pass and races from his 22 to the Waratahs’ 22 before being caught by Alex Newsome. The Sunwolves pack is too slow to support, and the Aussies win the penalty.

28.00: Foley boots the ball deep into Sunwolves’ territory.

29.00: TRY! Folau overtakes the great Joe Roff as the top Australian try-scorer in Super Rugby by an Australian. He is so hard to defend in the outside channels. 10-17 

31.00: MISS! Foley’s kick hits the post and rebounds away. 10-17

32.00: Jake Gordon’s kick, is a good one, and is out into touch.

33.00: Sekope Kepu is pinged for offsides, and Parker, from almost the same spot as his first penalty, calls for the tee.

34.00: PENALTY! The stand-off does not miss from in front, or anywhere for that matter.

37.00: Folau cleans up at the back, the Aussies regroup and break out when Kepu bursts out from his own half before being tackled from behind and knocking on.

38.00: TRY! Tom Rowe is over, taking Nakamura’s inside ball. It was from the same series of play that started with Kepu’s run. The Sunwolves are HOT! 18-17

39.00: CONVERSION! Parker adds another two. 20-17

40.00: The siren sounds, but we will take the lineout.

41.00: Gordon clears into touch and ends an entertaining first half.

The halftime score was Sunwolves 20 Waratahs 17

That was some first 40 minutes. It’s always a shootout when these sides meet.

Izzy Folau overtook Joe Roff’s Australian Super rugby try-scoring record, scoring his 58th in the competition. He is some player.

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Tokyo. Sunwolves assistant coach Scott Hansen wants the defence to improve, but he is happy with the set pieces. 

42.00: An early scrum to the Tahs, but no dramas, this time.

43.00: Hunt wins the turnover, but Hooper is caught offsides. Parker calls for the tee.

44.00: PENALTY! The flyhalf won’t miss from in front and on the 22. 23-17

47.00: Sunwolves showing some good defence (I know, don’t laugh), holding the Waratahs to 16 phases.

48.00: TRY! I jinxed the hosts. Dempsey, after a couple of goes, finally crashes over with the help of Hooper and Co. 23-22

49.00: CONVERSION! Foley puts the Aussies in front. 23-24

51.00: It’s that man Dempsey again, this time winning the penalty at the base of the ruck.

53.00: Beales pass is intercepted, the ball is regathered then lost forward. The Sunwolves are showing some strong defence in the middle of the park. It’s the wide areas where they have looked vulnerable.

55.00: Foley saves the Waratahs’ blushes, and cleans up Parkers grubber-kick. Daryl Gibson’s men get out of jail.

57.00: Shane Gates wins the turnover and the penalty. Beale wouldn’t let the ball go, and so Parker can clear the danger.

58.00: Dempsey steals the ball from debutant Pauliasi Manu at the gain-line. He stripped the ball off the prop. Boy, he’s having a great game.

61.00: We have entered the final quarter of the game; whose early season fitness will come to the fore?

62.00: Referee AJ Jacobs tells Parker that he’s had enough of the cynical play inside the Sunwolves’ 22. It will be yellow for the next infringement.

63.00: PENALTY TRY! The Sunwolves collapse the maul and AJ Jacobs is as good as his word. YELLOW CARD! Luke Thompson is sent to the sin-bin. 23-31

66.00: The hosts have been good around the breakdown. Ed Quirk and Hendrik Tui have been superb.

68.00: Both teams trading possession with missed touch-kicks, intercepts and knock-ons. The game is opening up in Tokyo.

69.00: Foley clears a penalty after some great work by Hunt at the breakdown. The centre showed good body position to get his hands on the ball. He has been excellent, today.

71.00: TRY! It’s Van den Heever at the double. The winger ran a good angle, taking the pass from Parker, who saw the flyer on his inside. It’s a move the Japanese use and used well against the Springboks in 2015.

72.00: CONVERSION! Parker reduces the deficit to one point. 30-31

73.00: Parker’s kick puts his team back inside the opposition’s half.

77.00: A good counter-ruck by the Tahs is undone when the hosts win the ball back. Nakamura’s inside ball is intercepted by Beale. The visitors clear the danger, but not very far. It’s squeaky bum time, as they say.

79.00: SO CLOSE! Parker sat back in the pocket, and under pressure from Hunt, he attempts a left-footed drop goal. The kick sailed wide, Atsushi Sakate caught the ball and thought he’d scored, but he was offside because Hunt didn’t touch the ball.

81.00: The hooter sounds, Gordon takes the ball from the maul and clears into the crowd. Gibson’s men held on for the victory.


In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

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The FINAL score is Sunwolves 30 (20) Waratahs 31 (17)


Tries – Van den Heever (2), Rowe
Pen – Parker (3)
Con – Parker (3)
Drop –
Cards – Thompson (Yellow, 63rd’)

Tries – Beale, Folau (2), Dempsey, Penalty try
Pen –
Con – Foley (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Shuhei Kubo
TMO: Minoru Fuji


Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Shane Gates, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar (captain).

Relacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Awe Helu, 20 James Moore, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Michael Little, 23 Rikiya Matsuda.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Lachlan Swinton, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Cam Clark/Adam Ashley-Cooper.

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