HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — Japan's Sunwolves claimed their first-ever away win in Super Rugby when they beat two-time champions the Chiefs 30-15 in a third-round match on Saturday.
The Sunwolves were winless in 24 away matches over their first three seasons but ended that record at Waikato Stadium with only their second-ever win over a New Zealand team.
Both teams came into the match without a win this season: the Sunwolves lost at home to South Africa's Sharks and Australia's Waratahs while the Chiefs lost to the Highlanders in round one, before a crushing 54-17 loss to the ACT Brumbies last weekend.
The Chiefs set out on Saturday to atone for that loss but were overwhelmed by a Sunwolves team which led 23-3 at halftime.
"It's pretty amazing," the Sunwolves' New Zealand-born captain Michael Little said. "The boys put in a lot of hard work this week and we knew we could do it."
The Sunwolves started with enormous energy and scored their first try after only two minutes through flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi. After accurate inter-passing which stretched the defense, the Sunwolves moved the ball wide for Matsuhashi to crash over in the corner.
New Zealand-born flyhalf Hayden Parker made it 10-0 after five minutes with a penalty, the first of six successful kicks at goal. Parker came into the match having kicked eight from eight in his first two matches and maintained a perfect kicking record through three rounds.
After an exchange of penalties, lock Uwe Helu barged over under the posts for the Sunwolves' second try to make the lead 20-3 and another Parker penalty stretched the lead to 20 points at halftime.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports