Japan’s Sunwolves have put in a brave performance in their Super Rugby debut but have gone down 26-13 to the Lions in front of a sold-out Tokyo crowd.
Skipper Shota Horie fired up the 25,000 fans at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday when he scored the outfit’s first try in the competition after 61 minutes.
But for all their disciplined effort, the new boys were unable to hold out the seasoned South Africans.
Hooker Robbie Coetzee, winger Courtnall Skosan, flanker Jaco Kriel and centre Lionel Mapoe crossed as the Johannesburg side secured a bonus point, and the victory margin would have been greater if Elton Jantjies had been more accurate from the tee.
The Sunwolves are one of three new teams in Super Rugby in 2016. Argentina’s Jaguares came from behind to beat the Cheetahs 34-33 on debut in Bloemfontein on Friday, while South Africa’s Kings face the Sharks on Saturday.