Rugby: Hurricanes blow away Sunwolves 83-17

Blade Thomson (top) of the Hurricanes takes a line out ball during the Super Rugby competition match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Hurricanes of New Zealand at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, Feb 25, 2017.
Blade Thomson (top) of the Hurricanes takes a line out ball during the Super Rugby competition match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Hurricanes of New Zealand at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, Feb 25, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

(AFP) - A rampant Wellington Hurricanes began the defence of their Super Rugby title by pulverising Japan's Sunwolves 83-17 on Saturday (Feb 25), scoring 13 tries in an embarrassingly lopsided game.

Ardie Savea, Vince Aso and Michael Fatialofa all crashed over twice in the Tokyo sunshine as the visitors threatened to break a slew of records against a shambolic Sunwolves side looking to rebound from last year's baptism of fire.

Fly-half Otere Black added nine conversions.

Late tries from Shokei Kin and Willie Britz barely papered over the cracks for the Sunwolves, who are co-based in Singapore and won just one of 15 games in their inaugural Super Rugby season.

Savea's elder brother Julian produced arguably the moment of the match after 28 minutes when he ran coast-to-coast to score, living up to his nickname "The Bus" as he smashed through two tackles to race clear.

Jordie Barrett, younger brother of All Black star Beauden, lit up an impressive Super Rugby debut at full-back with a brilliant pass for captain TJ Perenara to break the try line and an outrageous side-step to set up Ngani Laumape.

South African Riaan Viljoen finally got the Sunwolves on the scoreboard with six minutes left in the first half.

But after taking a 45-5 lead into half-time, the Hurricanes continued to run riot as a Laumape lob pass allowed Blade Thomson to score moments after the interval.

Within five minutes Fatialofa and Brad Shields added further tries and when substitute Wes Goosen capitalised on yet another Sunwolves error to make it 83-5 on the hour mark, the Hurricanes looked like racking up a century.

Kin and Britz salvaged a measure of pride for the Sunwolves after a dreadful mismatch which will nevertheless have given new coach Filo Tiatia very few positives to take away for the remainder of the campaign.