Japan’s Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves have had a tough season so far, winning just two of their 15 fixtures over the regular season – scoring 315 points and conceding a mighty 671.
The final round of the regular season saw them host the Blues, whose most recent match was the enthralling last-minute win over the British and Irish Lions. Not many (if any) would have given the Japanese outfit a chance against New Zealand opposition, especially seeing as no Australian side could get a result over their trans-Tasman counterparts all season.
However, the Japanese franchise weren’t on the same page as everyone else and produced their best performance of the season to earn a 48-21 victory over their opposition – their first over any side from New Zealand.
It is unlikely that the Sunwolves can continue these performances week-in, week-out next season, but it highlights the growing potential to go toe-to-toe with the big names of professional rugby in the Land of the Rising Sun.