Big Bad Wolves Give Reds Hiding Good
Parker-Inspired Hosts Claim First Ever Win Over Australian Side
The Sunwolves created history today, as they crushed the Reds 63-28 in a try-fest at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.
The home side ran in six tries to the visitors’ four, but it was a stand-out performance by the Sunwolves’ fly-half, Hayden Parker that set the two teams apart.
Parker hit a team record 36 points with seven penalties, five conversions and a five-pointer while expertly marshaling his troops and constantly driving the opposition back with accurate tactical kicking.
It has taken 12 weeks for the Sunwolves to get their first win of 2018, but what an historic victory it was - downing Australian opposition for the very first time. Sunwolves Head Coach Jamie Joseph said of his team’s victory, “For me as coach of this team, it wasn’t a surprise. We’ve worked very hard. Our game has been improving, but also so has the caliber of the opposition and so we went to New Zealand and performed very well. As I say, every weekend we are looking at our game, our rugby is improving but we just haven’t been able to get over the line and get a win, so today for me the team just put everything together in the same match.”
The Sunwolves were dominant in most facets of the game and most importantly put the Reds under pressure on the scoreboard. The Queensland side were their own worst enemy at times, as poor decision making in their own half gifted penalties which Parker, with his magic boots on, took full advantage of.
Reds' Head Coach Brad Thorn said afterwards, “The Sunwolves played really well today in front of their fans. They were by far the better side. Hats off to Hayden Parker. He scored 30-odd points and with the boot he put us all around the park. They were also very good at the break down. As for us we weren’t looking sharp. Our basic skills were poor and we got exactly what we deserved. We just weren’t there mentally.”
The Sunwolves started the game positively with early possession and were quickly in front 6-0 following two Parker penalties. However it was the Australian side that scored the first two tries of the match both coming from driving mauls close to the try line. Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa burrowed over for the first, then ten minutes later scrumhalf Ben Lucas sniped off the back after being told to use it by the referee.
Parker’s boot continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the home side however with two more penalties. At the 30-minute mark, the Sunwolves brought the crowd to their feet with a well-worked try for Grant Hattingh. The tall lock initially sent prop Craig Millar through the Reds’ defensive line with a neat pass before getting the ball back and barging over the line with two defenders hanging on. With Parker’s conversion, the Sunwolves regained a lead they would never relinquish.
With their tails up the home side started to take control of territory and ten minutes later were in again. It was a wonderful team try that began with wing Kenki Fukuoka gathering a grubber-kick. The ball was spread wide to Michael Little, who cut inside with two defenders on him and produced a wrap-around offload for Parker to run in under the posts. The Japanese side was powering away and finished off the first half with another penalty, which took the Sunwolves out to a 15-point lead.
Reds captain James Slipper said, “We knew what we were up against and you know that was a really strong Sunwolves team. They played really well and that’s what we got today. I thought the way we started the game we really put ourselves under pressure and we probably lost our way which is disappointing.” The second half produced an even better performance from the Sunwolves as winger Hosea Saumaki picked up a hat-trick and Parker continued with his perfect kicking display. The Tongan-born left wing scored in the 51st, 78th and 82nd minutes to complete the rout of the Reds.
There was also a penalty try awarded when replacement fullback Jason Emery intercepted a wayward Reds’ pass and sprinted 60 meters up-field only to be denied a five-pointer by a dangerous head high tackle. The Australian side managed two tries of their own with no.8 Angus Scott-Young smashing over the line after a 23-phase build-up. That was followed by a 75-meter try by right wing Filipo Daugunu on the counter-attack.
The day belonged to the Sunwolves however and they controlled the game with big defense and by creating space for their backs. Having Parker on their side was a massive advantage. Joseph added, “Just on the game, I thought it was a clinical performance. Our players were in control. They were very organized, very composed. I thought the display of skill by Hayden Parker was world-class and it’s those sorts of things that create confidence in the team so we can take that and build for next week which is against the Stormers in Hong Kong.”
- Todd Phillips: May 12th 2018
Sunwolves 63 - 28 Reds
Photos: Chris Pfaff May 12th 2018: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground