Akihito Yamada scored his fourth try in two matches at the Singapore National Stadium but it was not enough for a first Super Rugby victory as the Hito-com Sunwolves went down 27-30 to the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Sunwolves' Akihito Yamada (11) and Shota Horie (2) in action against Bulls Jamba Ulengo. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Sunwolves were playing the second of three home matches in Singapore with an attendance of 7,571 but once again came up just short of a debut win in the 18-team competition as the South Africans' physicality saw them over the line.
Bulls skipper Adriaan Strauss, flanker Roelof Smith and winger Jamba Ulengo muscled over for tries for the three-times champions, who dominated the game but failed to shake off their determined opponents.
Flanker Andrew Durutalo, Yamada and replacement Yuki Yatomi crossed for tries for the Asians as they collected a second point of the competition for losing by less than seven points.
Their first point also came in Singapore, a fortnight ago when they let slip an 18-point lead to lose 32-31 against the Cheetahs.
Sunwolves contest a lineout against Bulls. Photo: Sport Singapore
Yamada scored a hat-trick that day and he was again among the tries on Saturday as the Sunwolves scored the pick of the bunch with a sweeping move that started in their own half and ended with the left winger barging over in the corner.
"He is a world class finisher there is absolutely no doubt about that, Singapore seems to bring out the best in him," Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett said.
"He has performed well. So certainly from a hard running, pure gas, ability to move step off both feet its a real talent.
"He still has work-ons in his game, like us all. I would like him on the wing to be a louder communicator than he is but the little things he is working hard towards so I'm really happy with what he has achieved so far."
The Sunwolves embark now on a three match tour of South Africa before returning home to Tokyo in late April to face the Jaguares of Argentina.
Their last fixture in Singapore this year will be on May 14 against the DHL Stormers of South Africa.