HAMILTON • The Sunwolves scored the most significant win of their brief Super Rugby experience so far when a Gerhard van den Heever try sealed a historic 30-15 victory over the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton, New Zealand, yesterday.
It is the first time the Japanese unit, who are co-based in Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, have won an away game and it left the 2012 and 2013 champions embarrassed as they remain winless after three rounds.
A year ago, the Chiefs thrashed the Sunwolves 61-10 as the Japanese side went through their first three seasons with a woeful record of just six wins and their future in the competition in doubt.
Sunwolves had showed signs of progress when they went within a point of upsetting the New South Wales Waratahs last weekend, and against the Chiefs, they stepped up another gear.
They led 23-3 at half-time and held on as the Chiefs tried to rally in the second half.
Sunwolves flyhalf Hayden Parker, who converted all three tries and added three penalties, described the victory as "awesome" and a confidence booster.
"It was really nice to score some good tries in the first half. The second half was pretty ugly and it felt like the game went on forever, but the boys hung in and I'm proud of the way we stuck it out to the end," he said.
Chiefs scrum-half Brad Weber said his under-pressure side could not expect to win with the number of errors they committed.
"You're not going to win the game if you keep coughing up the ball about 10 or 11 times," he said.
"But you have to take your hat off to the Sunwolves. Their speed of ball and the way they were able to break tackles was pretty special and we have to take a hard look at ourselves."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS