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Sunwolves snatch 1st win with rousing romp over Reds

Jiji Press

The Sunwolves’ Kenki Fukuoka, center, breaks free during the first half of Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Queensland Reds in Tokyo.

Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) — The Sunwolves picked up their first win of the Super Rugby season at the 10th attempt when Hayden Parker and Hosea Saumaki led the way in a rousing 63-28 victory over the slumping Queensland Reds in Tokyo on Saturday.

In the final match to be held in Tokyo this season — the last two Sunwolves home games will be in Hong Kong and Singapore — flyhalf Parker amassed 36 points and winger Saumaki scored a hat-trick of tries to inspire a much-needed victory.

Tries from Parker and lock Grant Hattingh, as well as five penalties from the former, gave the Sunwolves a 15-point lead at halftime, and Jamie Joseph’s men continued to punish the 2011 champion after the break.

Three second-half scores from Saumaki and a penalty try sealed the comfortable victory.

“For me, as the coach of this team, this result wasn’t a surprise,” stressed Joseph.

“Every week we had been improving, but we hadn’t been able to get over the line and get a win. So today, for me, the team put everything together in the same match.”

Joseph made five changes to the side that lost to the Wellington Hurricanes two weeks ago, including a return for talismanic Brave Blossoms skipper Michael Leitch from injury.

However, it took some time for the revamped lineup to make an impact as converted tries from Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Ben Lucas in the first 22 minutes gave the Reds a 14-9 lead.

The match turned on the half-hour mark when Hattingh went over for the home side’s first try of the day.

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