As it happened: Super Rugby round 17 - Sunwolves vs Blues


FULLTIME: Stay tuned for the highlights coming very shortly/now.

FULLTIME: That is an incredible match as the Blues are absolutely humbled in Tokyo.

80mins TRY SUNWOLVES: What an extraordinary half to witness and what courageous rugby from the hosts. The Sunwolves hit a kick pass which is then regathered out wide from the winger, he then waltzes through four Blues defenders. The first five just misses hitting the 50

79mins: There's a big break in the game as a Sunwolves player is stretchered off to the massive applause of the crowd.

78mins: Blues cough up another high ball and the Sunwolves have the ball yet again. They then lose it forward on the Blues 10m line and it's a scrum to the visitors.

77mins: Kick goes over and the crowd are at absolute pitch fever. Kick off from West goes out on the bounce and it's Sunwolves lineout.

75mins TRY SUNWOLVES: Another poor pass from Sam Nock and the Blues are in complete meltdown on their own line. A kick is charged down and that's curtains. This is absolutely remarkable to watch. Lafaele gets a hatty!

74mins: Sunwolves slice through the Blues line and after a few more phases, they let a try go begging, just bobbling the ball as they look to cross the line. Brilliant rugby from the home side.

73mins: Blues lose their own lineout as they fail to contest and Sunwolves have the ball on the half way line. Surely there's no way back from here.

71mins: Blues earn a lucky penalty and West finds touch about 10m out from the Sunwolves line. If there's any chance for a comeback, it'll have to start here.

70mins: Sunwolves take it and clear it immediately but it doesn't go into touch. Blues on attack on the halfway line but Faiane drops it again and the Sunwolves kick down to the Blues 22.

69mins TRY SUNWOLVES: Nock passes the ball right into a Blues foward not expecting it and a Sunwolf shoots through, puts his foot to ball which bounces up beautifully before he passes it to Lafaele. Absolutely remarkable. Awful kick goes wide.

68mins: Rene Ranger drops the ball cold and the Sunwolves clear with a massive kick into touch. Kaino comes on after the yellow card. Blues starting to show a little urgency. 

67mins: Blues holding the ball but they can't get through this Sunwolves defense. Some poor passing from Sam Nock the Blues half is getting the whole backline on the back foot.

66mins: Sunwolves take the ball out from the kickoff and the Blues have the lineout on the Sunwolves 10m line. 

64mins TRY SUNWOLVES: The Sunwolves win the lineout and immediately go wide right. After a few phases the diminutive halfback dives over almost unencumbered. Kick goes wide but this is a monumental upset in the making.

63mins: Sunwolves' scrum is just marching toward the line and just before you feel a penalty try will be awarded, the Sunwolves' scrum half takes the ball and throws it forward, the Blues survive, just.

62mins: Blues have the ball on the Sunwolves 10m line but the home side are defending with big cojanes here. Up out of the line very quickly and they turn the ball over before kicking down field. The retreating Blues player knocks the ball about 7m out and the Sunwolves get the scrum. 

60mins: West gets us back underway and the Sunwolves are breaking tackles with ease. Collins spills a ball and the Sunwolves go wide very quickly before the Blues earn a penalty. Let off the hook there the Blues.

58mins PENALTY TRY SUNWOLVES: WOW! The Sunwolves take a big big lineout drive and the Blues are judged to have brought the maul down. This is remarkable rugby from the hosts.

57mins: The Sunwolves go blind but Jerome Kaino jolts the ball loose in a crunching tackle. The Blues then go downfield with the ball, but they bring it back to the TMO for Kaino's hit. It's ruled a high tackle and that's a yellow card for Kaino.

56mins: The Blues are crumbling under pressure as the Sunwolves clear from the kick off down to the Blues 10m line before Nanai drops the ball stone cold Steve Austin.

54mins TRY SUNWOLVES: Absolutely remarkable from the home team and they get the try. A very well placed kick by Matsushima on the wing but it was the defense in the midfield that did the job. Ryohei Yamanaka gets the try. Tamara misses the kick. A big boil over threatening here.

54mins TMO SUNWOLVES: The home side could be very well in after some very very good defense jolted the ball lose by the Blues midfield on the half way line.

51mins: The Blues go for the kick pass but the Sunwolves winger Kotaro Matsushima takes it very well and manages to lose Nanai on the chase. They then work it back into the middle of the field in their 22 but lose it out and the Blues get an attacking lineout. 

50mins: Blues have the ball on attack but West kicks it away but it's partially charged down and it goes out. Blues take the lineout and are on attack on the Sunwolves 22m line.

48mins: Great intent from the Sunwolves as they attack the Blues right hand side defense twice, almost finding lots of space. They fall short on the second occasion and cough up the ball. Blues scrum but they're well against it at the moment.

47mins: Blues kick the ball away and then Viljoen bangs a tidy torp down into the visitors' territory. West then replies and finds good touch on halfway. Sunwolves ball

46mins: With the line beckoning and the forwards on the move, the Sunwolves looked destined to burrow over, but some now dolis defense by the Blues and Cowley-Tuioti earns a penalty.

45mins: The Sunwolves make a mini break but five eighth Tamara decides to drill the ball into the Blues 22m line. The Sunwolves win the lineout and are now hot on attack.

44mins: The Sunwolves turn the ball over and West clears for the Blues. Riaan Vijoen then returns the favour with a kick and Pulu has to take the ball out. Sunwolves ball on halfway.

43mins: The Blues get the ball after a quick turnover from Cowley-Tuioti, but Steven Luatua then drops the ball and the Sunwolves get the scrum. Still about 30m out.

42mins: Blues falling off tackles left right and centre and the home side drill the ball deep. Michael Collins is turned around and clears but he doesn't find touch. Sunwolves earn a penalty but they go quickly. About 30m out now.

KICKOFF: West gets us underway and the Sunwolves run back strongly. In the next phase they are then awarded a penalty after the Blues were offside.

HALFTIME: What a very good exhibition from both sides as the Sunwolves just kept coming and coming. If they can hold onto the ball instead of kicking it away, they'll have a realistic chance of losing this. 

As for the Blues, their defense has been extremely poor but they're being rushed by the home side and their fitness is failing in the conditions.

39mins TRY SUNWOLVES: That's a stunner from the home side. Taking a quick lineout after West found touch, the Sunwolves trusted their speed out wide and their support play with Keisuke Uchida going over as the crowd erupted.

38mins: The Sunwolves execute another well thought out backline move but Tamara can't make it through the gap, instead grubbering it inside the Blues 22m line. Lineout Blues about 7m out from their line.

36mins: A game of back and fourths starts but the Sunwolves are awarded a scrum on the Blues 10m line after a spilled ball. Another attacking chance coming here for the hosts.

35mins: Sunwolves persist with the midfield bomb but it doesn't work this time and Melani Nanai makes a break up the left touch line. Some sloppy work at the breakdown however allows a Sunwolf to get his boot in there and he soccers it along the ground down to the Blues 22. Another break in play as the water's passed around.

33mins: Blues try a few hit-up phases but some good work from the Sunwolves prop at the breakdown earns them a penalty and they're allowed to clear down toward half way.

32mins: This time, Collins shelves a midfield bomb but Melani Nanai cleans up only for West to boot it down field. Sunwolves manage to get the ball back but their man is isolated on the Blues 10m line and they concede a penalty. West finds touch on the Sunwolves 22m.

30mins: Blues clear off the scrum but the Sunwolves will have another attacking chance just outside the visitors' 22m.

29mins SO CLOSE: Sunwolves make a stunning play off the back of the scrum and left winger Kinki Fukuoka just cuts through the Blues like a hot knife through butter. Brought down by Matt Duffie, they then go wide and looked to cross the try line, but centre William Tupou drops the ball in the in-goal.

28mins: That'll be a hard one to swallow for Sunwolves supporters as their team looked to have the better of the Blues for the past five minutes. Tamara gets us underway again and it's taken and cleared by West.

26mins TRY BLUES: That's really unlucky for the Sunwolves as they were again on attack, however Tamara throws a pass, gleefully accepted by Blues fullback Collins who canters in next to the posts. 

24mins: The Sunwolves earn an attacking scrum after a couple of miskicks and their deep inside the Blues territory attacking very well. However they lose the ball inside the Blues 22 and concede a scrum. They're looking very dangerous though with Lafaele being huge in the midfield.

22mins: Scrum Blues inside their own 22. A big break in play here and the players suck in the big ones.

22mins: West clears from inside the Blues 22 but can't find touch. The Sunwolves then run it back and make yet another break. But they lose the ball at the next phase. This is some brilliant stuff from the Sunwolves who've showed that if they can hold the ball, they can really test this Blues side.

20mins: The Sunwolves are hot on attack after a brilliant break from Lafaele but Scott Scrafton earns a turnover at the ruck. What a great return from the Sunwolves after the try. 

17mins TRY SUNWOLVES: Some really good attacking continuity there for the home side. Got the penalty after five phases inside the Blues 22 and went for the quick tap. A few more pick and goes and they're over underneath the posts through second five Timothy Lafaele. Kick converted. The Sunwolves are back in it.

15mins: Blues take the kick off well but cough it up in the next phase. It will be the Sunwolves first real attacking chance, a scrum about 30m out from the Blues line.

12mins TRY BLUES: A couple of lucky breaks there for the Blues and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti strolls in down the right hand touch line. The Blues size and pace around the ruck has been telling as the Sunwolves look to struggle with some of the visitors' forwards. 

12mins: Sunwolves seem far too content to give the ball away and they kick again. They then win it back at the ensuring ruck but the Blues take an intercept and break up to the Sunwolves 22m.

11mins: Tamara gets us back underway and Augustine Pulu and clears well down to half way. The sweat is pouring off some of the players already, it could be a long 80 minutes for them.

8mins TRY BLUES: The Sunwolves just struggled to hold on there and skipper James Parsons breaks through and burrows over. West slots it and it's a good start for the visitors.

8mins: Steven Luatua breaks down the right hand side then throws a massive pass in field, forward if you ask most people but play's allowed to continue. Blues hot on attack about 5m out and they're almost over.

7mins: Blues diffuse a Sunwolves bomb, some good work from Matt Duffie there. They then break through TJ Faiane and are back at halfway.

6mins: Blues win the attacking lineout and are just metres out from the Sunwolves line, but Luatua is isolated with ball in hand and the home side earn a relieving penalty. Tamara clears up to about 30m out from their own line.

5mins: The Sunwolves defense is biting and the Blues are knocked back over the halfway line. They do earn a penalty though and West kicks for the corner. A good start defensively for the hosts.

4mins: Blues hot on attack but they knock the ball on and the Sunwolves clear only to the Blues 10m line. Blues ball back on halfway.

2mins: The Blues disrupt the Sunwolves lineout but the home side knock the ball loose and it's an attacking scrum for the Blues about 35m out from the Sunwolves try line.

1mins: Blues go a little bit more orthodox off the scrum and they get the ball to Ihaia West who puts in a very good clearing kick down to the Sunwolves 10m line. 

KICKOFF: Yu Tamara gets us underway and the Blues take it well through Steven Luatua. The Blues then look to hit it up through Akira Ioane but a Sunwolves hand rips it loose. Scrum Blues, eventful first 30 seconds here.

3.04pm: Both teams just about on the field with everyone handing round the water bottle. I don't envy the players in this weather. Japanese crowd erupt as the home side are led out by Willem Britz.

3.02pm: It looks like the players will face testing conditions this afternoon in Tokyo with an absolute scorcher in the offing, looking at 35+ degrees.



Kia ora and welcome to live updates of the Sunwolves hosting the Blues at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights (be sure to refresh your browser) and all the action. VIDEO will be available as soon as the final whistle goes.

Commentary will start from around 3:00pm (NZT). In the meantime check out the video above as the Highlanders steamrolled the Reds in Dunedin on Friday night.



1. OfaTu’ungafasi, 2. James Parsons (c), 3. Charlie Faumuina,  4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti,  5. Scott Scrafton, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Blake Gibson, 8. Steven Luatua, 9. Augustine Pulu, 10. Ihaia West, 11. Melani Nanai, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. George Moala, 14. Matt Duffie, 15. Michael Collins

Reserves - 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Jimmy Tupou, 20. Akira Ioane, 21. Billy Guyton, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. George Moala


1. Koki Yamamoto, 2. Takeshi Hino, 3. Takuma Asahara, 4.  Kotaro Yatabe, 5. Uwe Helu, 6. Malgene Ilaua, 7. Shunsuke Nunomaki, 8.  Willem Britz, 9. Keisuke Uchida, 10. Yu Tamura, 11. Kenki Fukuoka, 12. Timothy Lafaele, 13. William Tupou, 14. Kotaro Matsushima, 15. Riaan Viljoen

Reserves - 16. Yusuke Niwai, 17. Keita Inagaki, 18. Yasuo Yamaji, 19. Yuya Odo, 20. Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21. Kaito Shigeno, 22. Jumpei Ogura, 23. Ryohei Yamanaka

Match facts and stats

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistants: Akihisa Aso and Tasuku Takawahara

TMO: Minoru Fuji

The Blues will become only the second New Zealand team to visit the Sunwolves in Super Rugby history, after the Hurricanes blew them away 83-17 in the opening round of this season.

The Blues have led at half-time in each of their last five games away from home, though they’ve gone on to win only two of those games.

The Sunwolves have crossed the whitewash at least once in each half of five of their last six games on home turf.

The Blues boast a ruck success rate of 96% so far this campaign, the best of any team in the competition.

Only one of the Sunwolves’ last seven tries has been scored by a back, and the last time a back from the Japanese club scored a try on home turf was in Round 7 this season.

Past meetings

Head to head: This is the first meeting between the Sunwolves and the Blues

Head-to-head: Sunwolves - $ 12.00 Blues - $1.02