The Rebels scored three second-half tries to secure a 35-9 bonus-point win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Both teams showed wonderful initiative and enterprise on attack, but their efforts were stalled early on with a high error rate and lack of execution triggered by the overcast weather conditions. The Rebels, however, adapted as the match progressed, ultimately outscoring the Sunwolves four tries to none.
Flyhalf Tusi Pisi gave the hosts the lead in the third minute with a penalty goal, but the Rebels struck back with a try by Jordy Reid. Having recycled the ball to both sides off the back of a powerful scrum, the flanker took out two defenders with a strong leg drive to wriggle his way over the line.
That didn’t deter the Sunwolves, who worked their way towards to the Rebels line with relative ease, only to be denied by strong Rebels defending in the danger zone. In the end, both teams added one more penalty as the Rebels led 11-6 at the turn.
Despite Pisi adding another penalty to the Sunwolves’ tally soon after the restart, the second half turned out to be extremely one-sided in favour of the visitors.
The Rebels scored 24 unanswered points via three converted tries by scrumhalf Ben Meehan, wing Tom English and flank Sean McMahon, coupled with a Debreczeni three-pointer to complete the rout and come away with five vital log points in their best start to a Super Rugby season.
Sunwolves – Penalties: Tusi Pisi (3).
Rebels – Tries: Jordy Reid, Ben Meehan, Tom English, Sean McMahon. Conversions: Jack Debreczeni (2), Daniel Hawkins. Penalties: Debreczeni (3).
Sunwolves – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Mifiposeti Paea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Yoshiya Hosoda, 5 Timothy Bond, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Keith Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Derek Carpenter, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.
Rebels – 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Dan Hawkins, 23 Stone Tuipulotu.
Photo: Koki Nagahama/Getty Images