The Highlanders boosted their hopes of reaching the playoffs with a dominant 52-0 victory over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
While the Sunwolves have tended to give Vodacom Super Rugby’s big dogs a competitive encounter at home, this was a performance they would want to move on from very quickly as they slipped tackles far too easily and lost the ball almost as soon as they got it.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, were in a rampant mood, virtually sealing the game before it really got going through four tries in the opening quarter. They climb up to fifth place on the combined log as a result.
It got worse for the home side as Liam Coltman went over from the back of a maul to help the Highlanders to a 33-point lead at the break.
The Sunwolves looked to speed the game up in the second half, taking quick tap penalties when they were on offer, and working their way into Highlanders territory. However, they still found an impenetrable luminous green wall in front of them.
The visitors extended their lead when Li went over for his second from a cross-kick from Ioane, before centre Josh Timu was on hand to finish off a break from replacement hooker Ash Dixon. Patelesio Tomkinson then added a further try to bring up the half-century.
#SuperRugby | RESULT:
Sunwolves 0-52 Highlanders
The Highlanders put 50 on the board against the Sunwolves who failed to get a single point in today’s match. pic.twitter.com/t67CVEOvSU
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) April 26, 2019
Highlanders – Tries: Tom Franklin, Tyrel Lomax, Tevita Li (2), Josh Ioane, Liam Coltman, Josh Timu, Patelesio Tomkinson. Conversions: Josh Ioane (6).
Sunwolves – (no score)
Sunwolves – 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Josh Timu, 12 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Hendrik Tui, 7 Dan Pryor (c), 6 Grant Hattingh, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Tom Rowe, 20 Ben Gunter, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Jason Emery.
Highlanders – 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Patelesio Tomkinson, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (c), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Dillon Hunt.
Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images