The Sunwolves' quest for a first Super Rugby win in Singapore was thwarted as they lost 17-38 to the Sharks yesterday.
Despite the backing from a record home crowd of almost 11,000 fans at the National Stadium, the hosts were on the back foot from the start and conceded a try inside 180 seconds as Sharks full-back Lwazi Mvovo opened the scoring.
It was the first of six tries scored by the South African team as the Sunwolves' defence struggled. Yet the Japanese and Singapore co-based outfit drew level in the 19th minute after a string of quick passes allowed Takeshi Hino to squeeze in a try and tie the game at 7-7.
That was about as close as it got for the Sunwolves, who have managed just one win from 11 games this season and have lost five and drawn one of their six games in Singapore across last year's debut campaign and this term.
The Sharks were sharper with their attacks throughout the game as left lock Ruan Botha and winger S'busiso Nkosi scored before the interval to put the visitors 21-7 up.
They added a further three tries in the final six minutes - Mvovo was responsible for two - to complete a comfortable win, their eighth in 12 games.
Sunwolves head coach Filo Tiatia said: "They played really well and put our team (under) pressure. I'm not gonna be (getting) down on my players to say that there were bad decisions. Poor executions yes, but not decisions.
"There are no excuses, you just got to be better when playing against such a good side."
Captain Harumichi Tatekawa was equally critical of his side's performance and said: "In the middle of the second half we kept on attacking and did not execute it. As a result, we eventually ran out of energy at the end."
Sharks hat-trick hero Mvovo was delighted his side collected a bonus point for outscoring their opponents by three tries. He said: "I think (my tries) were pretty important because at the time the Sunwolves were playing very well and I needed to help my team succeed and get the bonus points."
While pleased with his team, Sharks coach Robert Du Preez felt the win was hard earned. He said: "It was difficult playing against them and as we all know, the Sunwolves never gave up."
The Sunwolves next face the Cheetahs in Tokyo on Saturday.