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The Sunwolves suffered the worst defeat of their first Super Rugby campaign on Friday night, as the Stormers ran in seven tries in a 46-19 win at Newlands.

Once again, the Sunwolves showed glimpses of what they can do when they are able to retain possession and put some phases together, with Riaan Viljoen crossing twice and Yuki Yatomi also grabbing a try.

But the familiar problems of a shaky set piece, poor discipline and far too many missed tackles eventually proved to be their undoing.

The hosts crossed four times in the first half, to just one by the Sunwolves, then added another three in the second stanza.

“We started very well and I’m happy we scored seven tries and got the bonus point,” said Stormers captain Juan de Jongh.

His Sunwolves counterpart Shota Horie said his side had stepped up a little from last week but admitted, “we didn’t start as we wanted and struggled in the second half as well.”

“They scored before got warmed up. I think it was a good experience for the players who aren’t used to playing (in these circumstances),” Horie added.

During the preseason, much had been said about the Sunwolves’ lack of depth, and the multiple changes made by coach Mark Hammett — both forced and unforced — seemed to prove the Sunwolves can only be really competitive when they deploy their first XV.

Two weeks into their tour of South Africa, the Sunwolves were on par with their opponents in many of the post-match stats.

But the Stormers were far more clinical when scoring opportunities presented themselves and the Sunwolves’ midfield defense was of particular concern.

The Stormers dominated the early proceedings and went up 27-0 up thanks to tries by Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kobus van Wyk, Siyabonga Ntubeni and de Jongh, and two conversions and a penalty from Jean-Luc du Plessis.

To their credit, the Sunwolves fought back and Viljoen crossed in the 29th minute following some good work from Viliami Lolohea to make it 27-5 at halftime.

The lead was further reduced shortly after the break when Yuki Yatomi scored a superb try.

But any chances of a comeback were dashed when Notshe and Louis Schreuder crossed in the space of three minutes following some great interaction between the Stormers’ forwards and backs.

“Our tighties laid the foundation and it was easy for me to get over the white line,” said man-of-the-match Notshe.

Viljoen’s second five-pointer in the 65th minute, converted by Yu Tamura, made it 41-19.

But a red card to Timothy Bond five minutes later for a late and dangerous tackle meant the Sunwolves had to play the final 10 minutes with 14 men.

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