SINGAPORE – The Sunwolves were full of fire but short on finish Saturday as they were overpowered 37-24 in a six-try effort as the Lions exploited a pile of mistakes by the Japanese side.
The Sunwolves were awarded a sixth-minute penalty try after a relentless opening assault. The Lions’ Sylvian Mahuza was sinbinned for intentionally knocking on to prevent a pass to an unmarked Sunwolves player a few steps from the tryline.
For an instant, the Sunwolves appeared ready to punish the shorthanded Lions with their wide-open attack. But a knock-on near the Lions’ tryline and a series of penalties allowed the South African side to score on a Malcolm Marx 13th-minute try from a maul and a tying conversion by Elton Jantjies.
“I have to give it to the boys to hold them to seven early on,” said Marx, the South African side’s captain.
That scenario played out again as the Sunwolves repeatedly threatened the Lions’ tryline, only to be undone by poor discipline.
In between their slashing attacks, the Sunwolves played great defense for a few stretches, before Marx as able to ride a maul in for the Lions’ second try in the 36th minute and a 12-7 halftime lead.
“They have really good players over the ball like Marx,” the Sunwolves’ Dan Pryor said. “We had our chances but made too many little mistakes.”
Hayden Parker, whose kicks had opened the door for the Sunwolves’ riveting first-half attacks, kicked a 43rd-minute penalty to pull the hosts to within two points. But the Lions’ third try off a maul, this time to Nic Groom made it 17-10. Jantjies crossed the whitewash in the 57th minute for Lions’ fourth try.
With the game getting out of hand, Lionel Mapoe and Hacjivah Dayimani got in on the try-scoring party and Jantjies added a penalty goal.
Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco scored two late consolation tries as the Sunwolves tried to claw their way back into the game.