February 25, 2017
The defending champion Hurricanes put on a master class at Prince Chichibu Stadium in Tokyo. The Sunwolves could not cope with the precision, pace and physicality of the visiors who scored 13 tries to win 83-17.
The defending champions were full value for their win as the Sunwolves had no answer to their power and strength and the men from Wellington eventually outscored their hapless hosts by 13 tries to three.
It was a one-sided performance from the Hurricanes who made a very big statement, to their rivals for the title, on where they are planning to go in 2017.
The Sunwolves were under the cosh for the full 80 minutes and although they tried gallantly throughout, they could not match the intensity levels and execution of their more illustrious opponents.
It was one-way traffic from the opening whistle and the Hurricanes scored four unanswered tries inside the opening quarter. Ardie Savea got two of those, the first coming in the sixth minute after his brother, Julian, laid the groundwork with a trademark in the build-up.
A minute later, Vince Aso - who was a late addition to the starting line-up after Cory Jane withdrew through injury at the captain's run - went over for a try after gathering his own chip kick down the right-hand touchline.
Savea's second try followed two minutes later before Ricky Riccitelli scored the champions' fourth try after running onto a pass from Ardie Savea at close quarters in the 13th minute.
Otere Black converted four of those tries which meant the Hurricanes were cruising with the score at 24-0 after 15 minutes.
The Hurricanes continued to dominate as the half progressed and TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape and Julian Savea also crossed for tries before the break with Savea's effort the best of the lot.
The burly All Black gathered a cross-field kick from Black, just outside his 22, and bumped off two tacklers in trademark fashion and then outpaced the cover defence before diving over.
The Sunwolves' best moment of the opening half came in the 34th minute when Riaan Viljoen crossed for their opening try after gathering an inside pass from Kenki Fukuoka close to the visitors' try-line.
By half-time, the Hurricanes were cruising with the score at 45-5 and they continued to dominate in the second half. The one-sided nature continued during the opening 20 minutes of the half with Blade Thomson, Michael Fatialofa (2), Aso, Brad Shields and Wes Goosen all getting over for deserved tries.
Shields' effort in the 49th minute seemed to knock the wind out of the Sunwolves' sails as he intercepted a Shota Horie pass close to his try-line before running the length of the to score his five-pointer.
And by the time Goosen crossed for his try in the 60th minute, the Hurricanes were in total control with the score at 83-5. But to their credit, the Sunwolves did not surrender and Shokei Kin and Willie Britz crossed for consolation tries which added some respectability to the final score.
Tries: Viljoen, Kin, Britz
Tries: A Savea 2, Aso 2, Fatialofa 2, Riccitelli, Perenara, J Savea, Laumape, Thomson, Shields, Goosen
Cons: Black 9
Yellow Card: Fatialofa
Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hikaru Tamura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Heiichiro Ito, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Ryohei Yamanaka, 23 Shota Emi
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Wes Goosen
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Akihisa Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)