Sunwolves 30-31 Waratahs, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
An improved performance from Sunwolves wasn't quite enough as they were edged out by New South Wales Waratahs in their Super Rugby face-off at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Sunwolves continue to languish at the bottom of the Australian Conference while Waratahs have managed to reach the second spot with the bonus point win.
The home side got off to a terrific start when Ryoto Nakamura set up Gerhard van den Heever for the opening try in the 8th minute and Hayden Parker kicked the conversion. The visitors hit back two minutes later when Australian international Kurtley Beale crossed over in the 10th minute that was improved by Bernard Foley as the scores were levelled.
Parker with a 18th-minute penalty goal got Sunwolves back into the lead but back to back tries from Israel Folau in the 23rd and 28th minutes meant the scoreline was 10-17 in favour of Waratahs.
The momentum once again swung towards the Japanese side that came through a Tom Rowe try in the 38th minute with Parker kicking a penalty and conversion on either side to make it 20-17 at the end of the first half.
Sunwolves were quick to get off the block in the second half with a third penalty kick from Parker stretching their lead to six points before a try from Jack Dempsey (48') gave Waratahs one point lead.
Their momentum took a further boost when veteran Sunwolves lock Luke Thompson was sent to sin-bin in the 63rd minute and to make things worse Waratahs were awarded a penalty try to give them an eight-point lead.
Just as the closing stage of the game kicked-off, van den Heever gave a late scare to the visitors with his second try in the 70th minute but could not quite get over the line as they succumbed to a one point defeat.