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Sunwolves

FULL-TIME
21     20

Bulls

Super Rugby | Tokyo
05:15 (GMT) | 08-04-2017
  • 81
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  • 80
The siren sounds but the Bulls still attacking looking to come from behind. The Sunwolves win the ball back and it is kicked into touch. They win. The Sunwolves beat the Bulls.
  • 79
Great defensive work from the Wolves. Winning a penalty at the breakdown and they opt for touch. The ball is lost at the line-out.
  • 77
The Bulls look to attack building phase after phase. Wolves defense holding up strong.
  • 76
Brummer lines it up and misses the kick
  • 75
After the reset the Bulls wins a penalty just outside the Wolves 10 and opts for goal.
  • 74
Tamura strikes it perfectly and it goes sailing through the middle
  • 73
The Wolves wins a penalty in good kicking position and opts for goal.
  • 72
After the reset the ball is knocked on by the Bulls. Scrum Wolves ball on their own 22. They look to run before kicking and finding space behind the Bulls defensive line.
  • 70
Tamura adds the extras
  • 69
The Wolves opts for the scrum and looks to bash it over the try-line. Bulls defensive holding up but they find some space wide and Nakazuru goes over for the try
  • 68
Penalty Wolves and Serfontein is shown a yellow card for slowing down the ball
  • 67
Both teams looking to run the ball. The Wolves finding space wide and getting close
  • 66
After the reset both teams look to kick before the Bulls attacks through the midfield finding some space.
  • 64
Schoeman adds the extras.
  • 63
A turn-over by the Bulls sees Ismaiel go over the line after a strong run. Try!!!
  • 62
Both teams making use of the boot. Kicking and putting pressure on before the Wolves run
  • 61
Line-out for the Bulls just outside the 22 of the Wolves. The Bulls attacking strong but the Wolves defense holding strong.
  • 60
A scrappy line-out by the Bulls sees them knock the ball forward. Scrum for the Wolves who look to run.
  • 58
Strong scrum from the Bulls as they win another scrum penalty and opt for touch. Schoeman finds touch inside the Wolves 22
  • 57
Schoeman kicks it high after the line-out and the ball is lost forward by the Wolve. Scrum on the half way line. Bulls put in.
  • 55
Scrum Bulls ball and they win a scrum penalty and kicks for touch. Pressure relieved
  • 54
Tanaka feeds the scrum. Warren-Vosayaco picks it up from the back and runs. The Wolves gets close but the ball is lost forward.
  • 53
The Wolves find space behind the Bulls defensive line and Ulengo is trapped behind their own try-line. Scrum 5m Wolves ball.
  • 52
Good take by Ismaiel and Bulls look to attack before kicking. The Wolves counter attack wide.
  • 51
The Wolves gets a penalty and opts for touch. Line-out just over the halfway line. The look to attack the midfield.
  • 50
After the reset the Bulls attack and Gqoboka finds space going straight through the middle but can't hold on to it. Scrum Wolves ball. They kick and Gelant runs it back.
  • 48
Schoeman lines up a relatively easy kick and puts it straight through the middle
  • 47
The Bulls look to maul before attacking wide. The Wolves defense holding up but the referee awards a penalty and the Bulls opts for goal
  • 46
The away side wins a penalty and opts for touch. Schoeman kicks it out 12m from the try line
  • 45
Both teams making good use of the boot before the Bulls look to run.
  • 44
The Bulls looks to attack before kicking it. Sunwolves look to run before clearing.
  • 43
Tanaka feeds the scrum and the Wolves clears with a kick. Finding touch close to the Bulls 10
  • 42
Strong scrum from the Bulls. They look to build a few phases but their momentum is stopped by a knock forward. Scrum Wolves ball
  • 41
Schoeman gets the 2nd half on the way with a deep and high kick-off. The Bulls win the ball back and looks to attack. Scrum for the Bulls on the Wolves 22

Half Time

  • 40
The Wolves kicks and Gelant runs it back. He almost scores but the ball goes over the deadball line from a kick.
  • 39
The Bulls look to attack but a pass by Odendaal doesn't stick. Scrum Wolves ball.
  • 38
Good kick by Schoeman finds touch inside the Wolves 22. After the line-out they clear and Ismaiel runs it back.
  • 37
Bulls wins a penalty and opts for touch. finding it close to the half way line as they look to drive. A few kicks exchanged between the teams.
  • 35
Beautiful take by Warrick Gelant but the ball is lost forward and the Wolves look to attack. Finding some space behind the Bulls'defensive line
  • 34
Scrum down Wolves ball. Tanaka feeds and they look to go wide before kicking it high.
  • 33
Bulls scrum close to the Wolves 10. Paige feeds and they look to run but handling errors stop their momentum.
  • 32
The Bulls look to hold on to the ball but the ball is turned-over and the home side looks to attack wide. But their momentum is stopped with a handling error.
  • 31
The away team looks to build a few phases before they kick the ball into touch. The Sunwolves takes it quick and looks to clear. They find touch close to their own 10
  • 29
Sunwolves player is tackled into touch close to the Bulls 10 who looks to maul at the line-out
  • 28
Cripps clears with a drop-kick. The Bulls lose the ball and the Sunwolves attack wide
  • 27
Sunwolves line-out on the halfway line. But they lose the ball and the Bulls attacking strongly. They win a penalty and opt for touch but Schoeman fails to find touch and kicks it over the deadball line.
  • 26
After the reset both teams look to attack
  • 25
Schoeman lines it up and strikes it perfectly. Over
  • 24
After the reset the Bulls wins a penalty and opts for goal
  • 23
The Sunwolves wins a penalty and opts for goal. Cripps slots it over
  • 21
Scrum for the Sunwolves on the Bulls 10. They look to attack the midfield but the ball is lost and the Bulls look to counter before they lose the ball
  • 20
The homeside look to attack the blindside before the ball is kicked and Ismaiel does well to gather the ball and run it back.
  • 19
The Bulls look to run the ball before Schoeman kicks it over the deadball line. Scrum for the Sunwolves on the halfway mark
  • 17
Scrum reset and the Bulls gets a free-kick. Schoeman kicks it high and the Bulls put pressure on the Sunwolves who knocks the ball forward
  • 16
After the reset both teams look to attack before the ball is kicked out on the Bulls 10. Sunwolves win their line-out and look to attack the midfield before their momentum is stopped. Scrum, Bulls ball on their own 22.
  • 13
Schoeman adds the extras
  • 12
After the reset kick the ball is cleared by the Sunwolves. Burger Odendaal runs straight through the middle for a try.
  • 10
The Sunwolves is awarded another penalty and Cripps steps up to kick for goal. He slots it this time. OVER!!
  • 9
After the reset the Bulls the ball back but the Sunwolves is awarded a penalty and opts for touch and finds it close to the Bulls 10
  • 7
Cripps looks to add the extras but the ball hits the post and bounces back
  • 6
After the reset kick. The Sunwolves attacks and finds space as Warren-Vosayaco goes over for their first try.
  • 5
The Sunwolves wins a penalty and opts for goal. Cripps lines it up but misses a rather easy kick.
  • 3
The Sunwolves makes a turnover and looks to attack. Building a few phases and gaining metres. 10m away from the Bulls' try-line.
  • 1
The Sunwolves wins a penalty and opts for touch. Cripps finds touch close to the Bulls 22 but the balls is lost at the line-out and Paige kicks it out on the half way line
  • 0
Referee Will Houston blows his whistle and Kripps gets the game on the way with a deep kick-off. The Bulls secures the ball and looks to run before Paige clears. The Sunwolves look to counter
  • -5
It's a beautiful day with a slight drizzle but we can expect some running rugby. The teams are doing their final preparations before taking to the field and putting up a spectacle for the people of Tokyo. Referee Will Houston will be in charge of this fixture.
  • -10
The Sunwolves will miss their regular Captain in Edward Quirk while the Bulls have made a few changes in their starting line-up. Tiaan Schoeman has been given the opportunity at pivot and will look to control the game with his kicking boot. Odendaal will look to put on yet another strong performance giving The Bulls momentum with his strong runs. Cripps and Tanaka will look to control the tempo for the Sunwolves who loves to run the ball from deep inside their own half.
  • -20
Both teams have been struggling in this year's Super Rugby competition. The Bulls'form however has been a big talking point since they look good enough on paper to win every match they play but fall short everytime. The only win the Bulls have managed to get has been a month ago against the very Sunwolves. The Sunwolves will be playing with a lot more confidence today in their own backyard. They will look to put on a strong performance for their home crowd and try to see off a struggling Bulls side.
  • -30
Welcome to Tokyo where the Sunwolves will face off against the Bulls in this round 7 Super Rugby encounter.
Sunwolves
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Bulls
START LINE UP
  • 1 Koki Yamamoto
  • 2 Yusuke Niwai
  • 3 Yasuo Yamaji
  • 4 Liaki Moli
  • 5 Uwe Helu
  • 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga
  • 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi
  • 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco
  • 9 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 10 Hayden Cripps
  • 11 Kenki Fukuoka
  • 12 Derek Carpenter
  • 13 Timothy Lafaela
  • 14 Takaaki Nakazuru
  • 15 Kotaro Matsushima
RESERVES
  • 16 Takeshi Kizu
  • 17 Keita Inagaki
  • 18 Helichiro Ito
  • 19 Sam Wykes
  • 20 Shunsuke Nunomaki
  • 21 Yuki Yatomi
  • 22 Yu Tamura
  • 23 Ryohei Yamanaka
START LINE UP
  • 1 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Trevor Nyakane
  • 4 Jason Jenkins
  • 5 Rudolph Snyman
  • 6 Nick de Jager
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Hanro Liebenberg
  • 9 Rudy Paige
  • 10 Tian Schoeman
  • 11 Jamba Ulengo
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 13 Jan Serfontein
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 Warrick Gelant
RESERVES
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 17 Pierre Schoeman
  • 18 Martin Dreyer
  • 19 Hendre Staassen
  • 20 Jacques Potgieter
  • 21 Ivan van Zyl
  • 22 Francois Brummer
  • 23 Franco Naude
Mc article sunwolves v bulls banner 800

SR Preview: Round Seven, Part One

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:57

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: There are already some teams in the 'desperate' category, even with more than half of their league matches still to be completed.

The Waratahs, who face the defending champion Hurricanes first up, are right up there with teams desperate to get their campaign back on track - after just two wins in the first six rounds.

Next up is a team even more desperate - the hapless Bulls facing the Sunwolves in Tokyo. The Bulls, despite a litany of stars in their line-up, have just one win in the opening six weeks, having beaten the Sunwolves (34-21) in Pretoria last month.

The Highlanders and Blues, who face off in Dunedin, are both desperate to stay in the play-offs race after some inconsistent performances in the early weeks.

In Part One we look at the first three matches of the weekend!

Friday, April 7:

Hurricanes v Waratahs
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 17.35 AEST; 07.45 GMT)

There is the over-used cliche: 'You must earn the right to go wide.'

The Hurricanes believe they have already earned that right on the training field and will not deviate from their expansive game, even if they play in monsoon-like conditions.

Their critics will claim they tend to get too cute.

However, they simply don't believe in spending 60 minutes of a game building a platform. They built that platform in training.

Up against them this week is a team determined to use their massive pack to bully the defending Super Rugby champions into submission.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson is clear what his team needs to do in Wellington to overcome the New Zealand outfit.

"It's exciting to come up against another kiwi team, and to play against these teams who are the benchmark of the competition," Gibson said

"In terms of our directness, the idea is that we believe we need to take on the Hurricanes in terms of what they do with the ball in hand."

The Hurricanes have no such notions - about being 'direct' or 'physical' - as Waratahs captain Michael Hooper suggested.

The Hurricanes believe that Plan A is still to roll out the champagne game.

"I like attacking, I like getting the ball in hand and we've got players that like attacking as well and the more opportunities we give them, the more times it'll work for us," Perenara told stuff.co.nz.

"Yes, we might make errors every now and then, but I can live with that.

"I think we've got so much upside in some of our players and their ability to attack from anywhere on the field.

"Like I say, we might make an error that will hurt us every now and then, but that's a risk I'm prepared to take."

Recent results:
2016: Hurricanes won 28-17, Sydney
2015: Waratahs won 29-24, Wellington
2014: Waratahs won 39-30, Sydney
2013: Hurricanes won 41-29, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 33-12, Sydney

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won three of their last five games against the Waratahs, this after losing four games in a row against the Tahs prior to that. The Waratahs have won on three of their last four visits to Wellington after having not won there from 1997 to 2006. The Hurricanes have won their last eight games at home, their longest such streak, and have kept their opposition to single figures in four of their last five home fixtures. The Wellington club have won each of their last four home games against Australian opposition by an average margin of 34 points. The Waratahs have won on just two of their last 13 visits to New Zealand, their last such victory being a 29-24 win against the Hurricanes in Round 10, 2015. The conditions will give the Waratahs a chance, as their forwards will be able to slow the game down. However, the Hurricanes gave too much class and should win by 12 points.

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7  Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4  Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17  Chris Eves, 18  Mike Kainga, 19 Vaea Fifita; 20 Toa Halafihi, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black,  23 Vince Aso

Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Israel Folau, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Replacement: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Sam Needs, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Irae Simone, 23 Andrew Kellaway

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glen Newman (New Zealand)

Saturday, April 8:

Sunwolves v Bulls
(Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo - Kick-off: 14.15; 07.15 SA time; 05.15 GMT)

It is a sad indictment on the Bulls that - despite the quality of their players - that they have managed to beat just one team this season - the Sunwolves.

Bulls backline coach David Manuel said the coaching staff have identified a couple of 'weaknesses' that they have worked on.

However, there has been no indication of improvement in their first two tour matches - which saw them slump to 14-38 (against the Blues) and 12-28 (Chiefs) defeats in the wake of dramatic second-half slumps.

Not surprising the Sunwolves believe they have a good chance to exact revenge after the Bulls' 34-21 win at Loftus Versfeld last month, the men from Pretoria's only victory of the season.

"We love playing at home and to host a team like the Bulls in Tokyo is a special occasion for the organisation and our fans," Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia said.

"Our fans will not only get an opportunity to watch their Sunwolves players but view some world class players like Adriaan Strauss and Handré Pollard at the same time."

Regular captain Edward Quirk, who has been ruled out through injury, spoke openly of "revenge" and there is no doubt the Sunwolves are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Bulls.

The Bulls believe this is an opportunity to finally get their game going, having struggled to make the conversion from a structured approach to an expansive game.

Manuel said in the Blues game they had a plan and "applied it most of the game".

"Our challenge is the last 20 minutes of the game when we lack discipline," the assistant coach said.

"The big lesson we've learnt from the Chiefs clash is that the game is about inches and the New Zealand teams are good especially when you make a mistake and don't have the discipline to play for 80 minutes.

"I think a bit of patience is needed from our side.

"We get over anxious and over-excited and that leads to bad decisions with the ball in hand."

He said the players are "professionals" and must take ownership for their performances.

"There has been a huge chat about that [ownership] and if everybody can do that and bring it to the game, we will be better off,' Manuel said from the team's base in Tokyo.

Previous results:
2017: Bulls won 34-21, Pretoria
2016: Bulls won 50-3, Pretoria
2016: Bulls won 30-27, Singapore

Prediction: The Bulls have won each of their three previous meetings between these teams, though the last and only previous time the Sunwolves hosted this fixture it was decided by a margin of just three points. The Sunwolves have taken the lead into the half-time break in three of their last six games at home, though they've yet to convert a half-time lead into a win on home turf. The Bulls have lost their last five games outside South Africa; their last such win came against the Western Force in Round 10, 2016. The Sunwolves are one of just three teams in the competition (Highlanders, Stormers) yet to lose a scrum on their own feed this season. Jannes Kirsten made 14 tackles after coming off the bench in the Bulls' Round Six loss to the Chiefs, the most by a Bulls' replacement player since Jacques Du Plessis made 16 tackles against the Hurricanes in Round Eight, 2014. You have to think the Sunwolves will have a realistic chance of toppling a Bulls team that lacks confidence in their own game. However, there is this nagging feeling the Bulls will finally get their act together and win again - by 15 points.

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jaco Visagie/HendréStassen,  20 Jacques Potgieter, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude.

Referee: Will Houston
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Akihisa Aso
TMO: Minoru Fuji

Highlanders v Blues
(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Gordon Hunter Memorial trophy - which has been played for between the two teams since 2002 - is again up for grabs.

Hunter coached Otago from 1992 to1995 and the Highlanders in the inaugural year of Super Rugby in 1996.

He then went on to be a selector and assistant coach of the All Blacks from 1996 to 1999, before becoming the head coach of the Blues in 2000.

However, there are other reasons why these two sides will be charged up for Saturday's crucial encounter.

Both teams are just outside the play-off zone - mainly because of the convoluted conference system - both with three wins from six starts.

Both have won their last two matches and are beginning to show their play-off potential.

The Blues have welcomed back All Black Steven Luatua from suspension and will be looking to his physicality to get the edge over the Highlanders an what will be a brutal contest.

They also have Sonny Bill Williams, back from an eight-month injury lay-off, in the reserves.

Luatua, who announced he would be leaving the Blues for Bristol after this season, will need to make amends for his foul play misstep in Round Two.

"Without looking too far ahead, we're two games away from the bye and it's been a long block for us,'' Blues coach Tana Umaga told the Otago Daily Times.

Umaga said they will be looking for the "energy and his experience" Luatua showed prior to his indiscretion against the Highlanders.

"He's been training for four weeks now and it's been pretty good actually."

The Blues coach felt his team was not too far away from being at their best.

"We want a little bit more energy and they want to do the same thing - they're in the same predicament as us," Umaga said.

"Hopefully we get a good game out of that, two sides desperate for a result.''

Highlanders coach Tony Brown, despite his team's 39-point demolition of the winless Rebels last week, feels they will need to raise the bar considerably against the Blues.

"We've got a massive challenge against the Blues," Brown said.

"I'd say they're going to be at least three times as good as the Rebels."

Recent results:
2017: Highlanders won 16-12, Auckland
2016: Blues won 33-31, Auckland
2015: Highlanders won 44-7, Auckland
2015: Highlanders won 30-24, Dunedin
2014: Blues won 30-12, Auckland
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin

Prediction: The Highlanders have won seven of their last 10 games against the Blues, after having lost six in a row against them prior to that run. The Highlanders have won each of their last four home games against the Blues, though they've come by an average margin of just seven points. Four of the last five New Zealand derbies have been decided by a margin of fewer than 10 points. The Blues have won just one of their last 22 away games in New Zealand; that win came back in Round 2, 2013 against the Hurricanes. Matt Duffie has scored six tries in his last eight games for the Blues, including three tries in his last two games. This will go down to the wire and the lead may change hands several times. To call a winner is perilous, but we will say the Highlanders by five - only because they are at home.

Teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Tevita Li, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Sonny Bill Williams.

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, James Doleman
TMO: Shane McDermott

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports

Mc article sunwolves v bulls full time 800

Sunwolves pile more misery on Bulls

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 04:12

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Sunwolves recorded their first win of the season when they edged the Bulls 21-20 in a tense match in Tokyo on Saturday.

A 75th-minute penalty from replacement Yu Tamura proved to be the difference in a match where both teams scored two tries.

It was also the Bulls fifth loss in six games this season.

The struggling Sunwolves had looked close to scoring their sixth defeat in as many games after conceding a try to Travis Ismaiel after 64 minutes to leave the home side trailing by nine points and needing two scores.

But roared on by a Tokyo crowd which kept up a cacophony of wolf howls throughout, Filo Tiatia's side hit back with just over 10 minutes left when Takaaki Nakazuru touched down. 

Tamura converted to make it 20-18. 

He then coolly kicked a penalty in the 74th minute that proved the game winner before the final buzzer triggered scenes of unbridled joy among the players and the team's long-suffering fans.

The Sunwolves, currently in their second season after a horror debut in 2016 when they won just one of 15 games, could still have lost had Francois Brummer converted a late penalty.

"We noticed we were giving away points in the last 20 minutes," Tiatia told reporters after a superb defensive display from his team.

"We talked about keeping calm, driving the game plan and raising the energy - the players that came on contributed well."

Bulls coach Nollis Marais lamented a late yellow card shown to Jan Serfontein.

"When we were down to 14 we knew we were in trouble," he said. 

"It's always difficult to defend with 14 and what was good for us last time, was bad for us this time."

Man of the match: Some of the Bulls players showed some nice touches, but overall it was a disappointing display again. The award must go to one of the Sunwolves players for a passionate display and No.8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco embodied that. 

The scorers:

For Sunwolves:
Tries: Warren-Vosayaco, Nakazuru
Con: Tamura
Pens: Cripps 2, Tamura

For Bulls:
Tries: Odendaal, Ismaiel
Cons: T Schoeman 2
Pens: T Schoeman 2

Yellow card: Jan Serfontein (Bulls, 68 - cynical play, slowing down play)

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Hendré Stassen,  20 Jacques Potgieter, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude.

Referee: Will Houston
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Akihisa Aso
TMO: Minoru Fuji

AFP

Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (6min) and Takaaki Nakazuru (69min)
TRIES
Burger Odendaal (12min) and Travis Ismaiel (63min)
Yu Tamura (70min)
CONVERSIONS
Tian Schoeman (13min) and Tian Schoeman (64min)
Hayden Cripps (11min), Hayden Cripps (23min), and Yu Tamura (74min)
PENALTIES
Tian Schoeman (25min) and Tian Schoeman (48min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Jan Serfontein (68min)
 
 
VENUE Tokyo
REFEREE Will Houston