VIDEO: Waratahs put 50 past willing Sunwolves
VIDEO: Waratahs put 50 past willing SunwolvesSHARE
The Australian outfit outscored their hosts by seven tries to four at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.
While the Waratahs were clearly the better team, the Japanese franchise deserves credit for their willingness to play an expansive game and made a massive contribution to the entertainment value of the game.
It was the second consecutive match in which the Tahs put 50 points past the Sunwolves, a result which sees them only one point behind Australian conference leaders the Melbourne Rebels.
With previous wins against the Rebels and Brumbies, the Waratahs have now chalked up three victories on the trot for the first time in almost two years.
The 38 points Tahs scored in the opening 40 minutes was the team's second-highest total in the last 16 years in a first half.
It looked like Michael Hooper's men were going to break their all-time Super Rugby record for most points scored when they racked up 43 in 45 minutes.
"We came into this game fully aware of the threat the Sunwolves posed and we weren't surprised by some of the game they came up with," captain Michael Hooper said.
"It was a very tough game, fast game.
"The conditions were trying and I was really proud of our boys' [effort] to dig deep and find some nice little touches on the ball.
"We moved the ball to space, particularly Taqele [Naiyaravoro] on the wing was special there today. Disappointing with some of our defence. We can go and look at that this week."
The Waratahs' points record of 73, set against the Lions in 2010, looked to be in danger before the Sunwolves tightened the screws and found their groove and a little more in the second half.
The Waratahs didn't score a point for 28 minutes after the break before, Taqele Naiyaravoro, who made a staggering 202 run metres, helped his side chalk up a half-century of points for the second time this season with a damaging run on the left edge.
For context, the Brumbies came away from Tokyo earlier this season with a scrappy seven-point win, while the Rebels fared better in their 37-17 victory over Super Rugby's worst performing team.
The Waratahs will return to Sydney with back-to-back wins on the road and with the task of knocking off fierce rivals the Reds next Saturday.
Man of the match: You don't have to look much further than Pieter Labuschagne and Michael Little as the Sunwolves' best players. Curtis Rona, Michael Hooper, Michael Wells, Will Miller and Jake Gordon all had influential performances. However, Waratahs wing Taqele Naiyaravoro was a monster with the ball in hand and his metres made won him our award – even though he missed four times as many tackles as he made.
For the Sunwolves:
Tries: Little, Wykes, Masirewa, Himeno
Cons: Tamura 2, Parker
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Gordon 2, Rona, W Miller, Hegarty, Hooper, Naiyaravoro
Cons: Foley 6
Yellow card: Michael Hooper (Waratahs, 65 – cynical foul, killing the ball at a ruck near the goalline)
Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Lomano Lava, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Hosea Saumaki.
Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson,
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Cameron Clark.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan) & Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)