The Sunwolves went down 24-37 after a valiant effort against the Emirates Lions at the National Stadium in Singapore on Saturday (March 23).
This loss came on the back of the news that the Tokyo-based Sunwolves will be cut from Super Rugby after the 2020 season, as announced by southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR on Friday.
The Sunwolves (red) went down 24-37 after a valiant effort against the Emirates Lions. Photo: Sport Singapore
But head coach Tony Brown emphasised that the team's performance against their South African opponents were not affected by the bad news.
"The news didn't affect team morale. The Lions game was our sole focus and we are not concerned about what's going to happen in the future because all that is out of our hands, said Coach Brown.
The Japanese side got things underway with a line break from Gerhard ven den Heever, and almost scored their first try when Jiwon Koo went over, but were eventually overruled by the referee. It was before long that they managed a 7-0 lead after being awarded a penalty try in the 42nd minute.
However, the Lions scored a conversion and were level within minutes. They went into half-time 12-7 up after captain Malcolm Marx - the scorer of his team's first try - scored another in the 35th minute.
The Emirates Lions celebrating their win. Photo: Sport Singapore
A long range three-pointer from Hayden Parker saw the Sunwolves get back to within two points early in the second half, but unfortunately for the hosts the game was about to get away from them.
The tired Sunwolves were soon trounced by the Lions, condemning them to the fifth of six losses in the current season and last place on the league.
“Same as the start, we will try to win every game and we will play the Waratahs next week and we will put the players in place, we will prepare them well and they will go out there and try to win the game. Then we will look to the next week then we look to the next week then we look to the next week. We believe we have got a team that is good enough to win every game that we play and that’s the way we play and that’s the way we prepare," said the Sunwolves' coach.