Akira Ioane swats away defenders, scoring easy try as Blues defeat Sunwolves in Tokyo




The Blues have put the embarrassment of last season's Super Rugby loss to the Sunwolves behind them with a 24-10 win in Tokyo.

Trailing 10-5 at halftime on Saturday, a repeat of last year's shock 48-21 loss appeared possible.

However, the Blues dominated the second half, scoring 19 unanswered points to end a three-match losing streak.

While the Blues are still a distant last in the New Zealand conference, a second win from seven games pulls them clear of the battling Japanese side, who sit at the bottom of the overall standings with seven straight losses.

In a match dominated by errors and a hefty penalty count, it was some dreadful Sunwolves defence and a horrendous error count in the second half which was most decisive.

Powerhouse No.8 Akira Ioane scored his seventh try of the season and replacement flanker Dalton Papali'i brushed aside multiple defenders to put the Blues in command before winger Jordan Hyland capped his debut by crossing for his second try near fulltime.

The match began in inauspicious fashion for the visitors when lock Patrick Tuipolotu - playing his 50th match - was shown a yellow card for no-arms tackle.

The Sunwolves capitalised, powering 10-0 ahead, capped by a neat try from Tim Lafaele. Centre Lafaele bagged a hat-trick in last season's historic match, in which his team notched a first win over Kiwi opposition.

However, Jamie Joseph's team were opened up too easily from that point on, with Hyland crossing before halftime when he shrugged aside two poor attempted tackles.

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