VIDEO: Reds leave it late in Tokyo
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Hamish Stewart slotted a 79th-minute penalty to secure the Reds’ first win of the season in Tokyo on Saturday.
Trailing 5-21 at half-time, the Queensland-based franchise produced an inspired second half to come from behind and win 34-31 against a tiring Sunwolves team.
A lively second half saw five tries scored, but most importantly the Reds scored four of them.
That could be a season-defining win for the Queensland side.
- Continue reading report below highlights video …
Staring down the barrel at a fourth-straight loss this season, the Reds overwhelmed the home team in the second half thanks to a spark off the bench by Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert and Tate McDermott.
All three substitutes scored in the second half, with Paenga-Amosa grabbing a double and McDermott pouncing on a Harry Hockings charge down in the dying minutes.
Fullback Hamish Stewart, who had missed a conversion attempt after McDermott’s try that would have put the Reds ahead, sealed the win with a penalty with less than two minutes to go.
Victory looked unlikely after a poor first half by Brad Thorn’s men, with the Sunwolves running in three tries to one to hold a 16-point lead at the break.
Liam Wright’s try after a 20-metre drive from a maul was all the Reds had to show as Jamie Booth, Rahboni Vasayco and Dan Pryor all scored for the Sunwolves.
Needing to score first after the break, the Reds did just that Paenga-Amosa and Hoopert scoring to reduce the margin to two before Paenga-Amosa’s second put the Reds ahead for the first time in the 66th minute.
From the kick-off, however, the Reds handed the initiative back to the Japanese team, with rookie five-eighth Isaac Lucas colliding with winger Chris Feauai-Sautia and knocking the ball on.
The Sunwolves made the most of the error to hit the front with substitute scrumhalf Keisuke Uchida scoring before a Hayden Parker penalty extended the margin to five.
Rather than dwell on allowing the Sunwolves back in the Reds finished with a wet sail with McDermott’s 76th minute try and Stewart’s penalty sealing a vital win.
Queensland faces the Brumbies in Brisbane next Sunday, while the Sunwolves host the Lions next Saturday.
For the Sunwolves:
Tries: Wright, Warren-Vosayaco, Pryor, Uchida
Cons: Parker 4
For the Reds:
Tries: Booth, Paenga-Amosa 2, Hoopert, McDermott
Cons: Stewart 3
Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Sione Teaupa, 12 Michael Little (captain), 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Uwe Helu, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Amanaki Mafi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi (captain), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Aki Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)