Western Force ease past Sunwolves


The Sunwolves, who posted a historic first victory in the southern hemisphere's premier provincial competition against Argentina's Jaguares in their last outing, burst from the blocks with a try from Akihito Yamada in the opening moments.

But from the restart a sharp interception from Brache left him an easy run-in, before a spectacular try after a slick move and another bulldozing finish gave the winger his hat-trick inside 20 minutes.

The Force, who had won just one of their previous nine matches, never looked back and further tries from Byrnard Stander, Ben McCalman and Angus Cottrell secured a second win of the season for the Perth-based visitors.

“Obviously it wasn't the start we were after but the way we rebounded was superb,” said Force captain Matt Hodgson after his side snapped a seven-game losing run. “I asked the team to be tough in those moments and I was happy we got the momentum back.”

Trailing 26-5 after a low-energy first half, the Sunwolves awoke from their slumber following the break with Samoan fly-half Tusi Pisi and Kiwi centre Derek Carpenter crashing over.

Yamada, who failed to make an impact at the Force last season, grabbed a late second -- his seventh try of the season -- to cap an impressive return from injury and deny the Australians a bonus point.

“When their tails are up, they're hard to defend against,” Hodgson said of the Japanese expansion side. “I was just rapt we got away with a win.”

However, a plucky second-half display proved scant consolation for Sunwolves captain Shota Horie.

“We started well but then we started giving away penalties and got pushed back,” he shrugged as Sunwolves players posed for photographs with Japanese fans.

“We need to be more aggressive in enemy territory. There's a lot of things we have to go away and think about. It's a good lesson for the future,” Horie added.

The Sunwolves have endured a torrid first season in Super Rugby, hitting rock bottom in last month's 92-17 humiliation by South Africa's Cheetahs before ending their own seven-match losing skid against the Jaguares.

The Tokyo-based side joined the competition on the back of Japan's astonishing performance at the World Cup where the Brave Blossoms won three pool games, including a 34-32 shock upset over two-time champions South Africa.

But delays bringing in players and coaching staff sabotaged the team's preparations while a lack of depth prompted former Japan coach Eddie Jones, now in charge of England, to slam the Sunwolves as “embarrassing”.– AFP

Original source: Western Force ease past Sunwolves