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Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn says his side “got what they deserved”, with the pumped-up Sunwolves claiming their first Super Rugby match win of the season with a 63-28 hammering in Tokyo.
Kiwi-born five-eighth Hayden Parker did much of the damage for the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium with a personal tally of 36 points.
He finished off a brilliant first-half team try and kicked 12 goals from 12 attempts, while Sunwolves winger Hosea Saumaki also had a day out, collecting a hat-trick of tries.
While the Sunwolves deserved the win, the Reds did themselves no favours.
Through lazy play, they conceded 12 penalties to hand their opponents 21 points, their attack lacked creativity, defence was lacklustre and their kicking game was below par as well.
Thorn said his team were simply beaten by the better team on the day.
“There was lot of poor, basic footy out there and we got what we deserved,” Thorn said.
“Hats off to Hayden Parker who scored 30-odd points; the forwards were good; they were really good at the breakdown so well done to them,” Thorn said.
“They were by far the better side.”
After upsetting South African heavyweights the Lions in their last match, the Reds were riding high but instead became the first Australian team to lose to the Sunwolves.
“You saw the performance and attitude against the Lions and then today, it just wasn’t on par,” Thorn said.
“It’s frustrating – it’s a long way to come to perform like that.”
Sitting third in the Australian conference, the shock loss meant they blew a golden chance to make up ground on the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels.
They next face tough encounters against the Hurricanes and Highlanders.
While Parker opened with a penalty goal in the first minute of the game, the Reds scored the first try with hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa planting the ball at the back of their rolling maul.
Halfback Ben Lucas darted from the back of a maul to plant the ball across the line in the 21st minute and Reds were out to 14-9 lead.
But penalty goals kept the home side in touch before lock Grant Hattingh scored after an obvious forward pass was overlooked by the TMO.
Three minutes later, Parker crossed after a superb team try which he converted for a 26-14 scoreline and momentum was with the Sunwolves.
The Reds tried to rally in the second half with their reserves lifting the tempo.
However, any small chance of a comeback was snuffed out in the 69th minute when the Sunwolves were awarded a penalty try and Duncan Paia’aua was yellow-carded for a high tackle as he tried to bring down Jason Emery.