Rugby: Sunwolves lose Super Rugby opener 13-26 to Lions of South Africa

Lions' Courtnall Skosan (second, right) celebrating with team mates after scoring a try against Sunwolves.
Lions' Courtnall Skosan (second, right) celebrating with team mates after scoring a try against Sunwolves. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Asia's first Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves made a losing start to their maiden season in the newly-expanded 18-team league on Saturday.

The Japan and Singapore co-based outfit, which was hastily assembled and had less-than-ideal preparation, were defeated 13-26 by the Lions of South Africa in front of a sold out crowd at the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo.

The visitors scored four tries - earning themselves an extra bonus point in the process - against the host's solitary try which came from captain Shoto Horie.

The Sunwolves, coached by former All Black Mark Hammett, have a bye in the next round of matches and will face another South African side, the Cheetahs, at the Singapore National Stadium on March 12.