Super Rugby Pacific: Blues ease to pre-season win over Suntory Sungoliath in Tokyo

The Blues have kicked off their Super Rugby Pacific pre-season schedule with a comprehensive 43-7 victory over Japan's Suntory Sungoliath at Tokyo.

The NZ side ran in seven tries to one at Chichibunomiya Stadium, building on a 19-7 halftime advantage to ensure a winning start to Vern Cotter's tenure as head coach.

The Sungoliath fought valiantly, but never genuinely threatened the Blues, who looked assured across the park, despite the touch of rust you'd expect from an opening game of the year.

Hooker Kurt Eklund scores for the Blues.
Hooker Kurt Eklund scores for the Blues. Photo credit: Getty Images

Pivot Stephen Perofeta ran the show with aplomb for the tourists, while Corey Evans proved a menace in the midfield. The Blues began the match with a bang, scoring a trio of tries in the opening 15 minutes to take a stranglehold on the contest.

Lock Sam Darry bulldozed his way over the chalk from close range after some hot-stepping form stand-out second-five Leo Gordon, before hooker Kurt Eklund powered over in a blindside raid from a lineout. 

The visitors' advantage then stretched to 19-0, after Perofeta's slick backhand offload sent wing Caleb Tangitau over in the corner.

The hosts eventually got on the board at the half-hour mark, as Pumas star Nicolas Sanchez delayed his pass neatly to create space for fullback Kotaro Matsushima to sprint clear and dot down.

Cotter rang the changes at halftime and his team wasted little time building on their advantage at the interval, with a quick doublestrike to begin the second stanza.

Loose forward Anton Segner showed off his deep bag of tricks by laying on a pinpoint grubber near halfway for substitute halfback Taufa Funaki to scoop and outjink the defence en route to the chalk. 

Two minutes later, Tangitau was over for his second of the day to extend the Blues lead to 29-7 in the 47th minute.

Not to be outdone by his loose forward counterpart, Hoskins Sotutu showed off his skills with the boot, with a well-weighted grubber that sat up perfectly for Lucas Cashmore to latch onto and score.

The Blues put a bow on their win with some silky handling for Cole Forbes to reach out for their seventh and final try of the game.

The Auckland-based side will remain in Japan, where they'll hope for a photocopy performance against Yokohama Canon Eagles next weekend.