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The end result wasn’t what they had hoped for, but the Sunwolves’ Super Rugby debut drew a large throng of fans, both Japanese and foreign, and it gave them a lot of excitement at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon.

A longtime Japanese rugby fan named Takamori Takayama, who donned a vivid orange Sunwolves replica jersey, exemplified that feeling. A company employee, Takayama traveled from Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, along with his wife and two little children, to witness the Sunwolves’ historic first game.

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