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Fans blast axing of the Sunwolves from Super Rugby following thriller against Hurricanes

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Sunwolves first-five Hayden Parker lines up a shot at goal in front of a packed out crowd in Tokyo. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images for Sunwolves)

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Although they’re set to be axed from Super Rugby after next year’s edition of the competition, the Sunwolves continue to draw interest from their loyal Tokyo fanbase and entertain the masses with their brand of high-energy rugby.


That much was evident when they nearly pulled off what would have been the upset of the season on Friday night as they came within a converted try of defeating the Hurricanes in a pulsating 29-23 loss in front of a sold-out crowd at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

While they squandered a 23-7 first half lead, the Sunwolves put on a display of exhilarating rugby and threatened to upset the 2016 champions in similar fashion to their unexpected victories over the Chiefs and Waratahs earlier this season.

Fijian winger Semisi Masirewa scored a spectacular brace of tries and Kiwi pivot Hayden Parker continued his outstanding form as he pulled the strings from first-five.

Other standouts for the Japanese franchise included Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, the Australian No. 8 who started at second-five and blitzed his way through the Hurricanes’ defensive line at halfway to set up Masirewa’s first try.

All of this was done in front of a passionate home crowd, which achieved the rare feat of selling out a Super Rugby regular season match, something that teams in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have struggled to accomplish for over a decade.

Despite the Sunwolves’ enthralling on-field play and fierce support shown by the home fans, they remain in line to be cut from Super Rugby after 2020 in a decision made by SANZAAR last month to allow the competition to return to a round-robin-based schedule after coming under much criticism for the current conference-based format the tournament operates under.


It’s a decision that’s proven to be unpopular from the general public, with many taking to Twitter in the wake of the Sunwolves-Hurricanes clash to vent their frustration and dismay at the Sunwolves’ culling given the entertainment and feel-good factor they provide.


While some were frustrated at SANZAAR’s decision to banish the Sunwolves from Super Rugby, others simply marvelled at the spectacle playing out in Tokyo.

Three unanswered second half tries, including a 68th-minute stunner to Wes Goosen, allowed the Hurricanes to sneak away with the win, keeping them in the top four as they occupy the top wild card spot with 27 points.

As for the Sunwolves, they remain in last place with two wins from nine outings, giving them a total of 11 points.

Another Friday night clash beckons next week, as they face the 14th-placed Highlanders in what could be a bottom-of-the-table clash should the Dunedin-based side fail to beat the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

Watch – Daryl Gibson speaks ahead of Rebels clash:

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