Super Rugby 2019: Highlanders thrash woeful Sunwolves in Tokyo

The Highlanders have given their season a huge boost with a massive 52-0 win over the Sunwolves in Japan.

It was utter domination from the outset as the Sunwolves had a monumental struggle in defence. 

Aaron Smith started the game in a different gear to everyone and was all around the place so it was no surprise he had a huge part in the first try - the little halfback putting runners through holes in the lead up to Tom Franklin's try. 

The Highlanders' dominance continued for the next 35 minutes as a mixture of great teamwork and poor defence saw them score again six minutes later. 

A Sunwolves error gave the visitors the ball and within four passes Tyrel Lomax was diving over the line for his first try of the match. 

Tavita Li scored three minutes later after a Sio Tomkinson break on the opposite wing - the Highlanders recycled the ball and Josh Ioane found Li with a cut-out pass. 

Ioane and Liam Coltman also added tries in the first 40 to take the score to 33-0 at half time. 

The start of the second half provided a mixture of good attack from the Sunwolves and scrappy defence from the visitors - but that is as good as it got for the hosts. 

The Highlanders piled on the points and inflicted further misery onto the hosts in the second 40.

Tavita Li opened the scoring after the break after a great kick through from Josh Ioane set the winger up for his second.

Rob Thompson and Tomkinson scored tries to take the score to 52-0 when the Sunwolves thought they had their first points of the night when Semisi Masirewa crossed the line only to be called back for a forward pass - much to the disgust of the fans. 

They didn't give up and kept fighting but missed tackles and the bad defence did the damage for the Japanese side in the first half. 

The Highlanders side tired late in the match but had already done the damage in the first half with their relentless attack.