The Sunwolves left the best to last for their Tokyo faithful Saturday as they hammered the Reds 63-28 for their first Super Rugby win of the season.
A faultless display of kicking from Hayden Parker, who finished the day with 36 points, and a hat-trick of tries from Hosea Saumaki saw the Japanese franchise record their first-ever win over an Australian team and rack up the most points they have ever scored in a game.
"It was a clinical performance," said Sunwolves coach Jamie Joseph, whose side's remaining home games are in Hong Kong on May 19 and Singapore on June 30.
"We were in control, were very organized and composed and the display of skill from Hayden Parker was world class."
Parker kicked seven penalties and five conversions from as many attempts, to go with a first-half try.
But he also ran the show when the Sunwolves had the ball, and they had plenty of that thanks to the forwards.
Kazuki Himeno and Grant Hattingh were at the heart of the effort as the Sunwolves outplayed the Reds and ensured the visitors were unable to use the set piece to launch their dangerous backs.
And when the Reds did attack, a much-improved defensive effort saw them stopped in their tracks with Ed Quirk completing 17 tackles, and Himeno and Michael Leitch 16 apiece.
"The Sunwolves were by far the better side and we got what we deserved," said Reds coach Brad Thorn.
On a day that was expected to be a battle between "Tongan Gozilla" (Saumaki) and "Tongan Thor" (Taniela Tupou), it was Parker's super boot that proved the difference.
Four early penalties from the New Zealand-born flyhalf, who recently signed for Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan's Top League, ensured the Reds were never able to get going, despite two early tries from rolling mauls by Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Ben Lucas.
The game's fairly even opening 25 minutes was turned on its head by two superb scores from the Sunwolves.
Hattingh finished off a well-timed run from Craig Millar to score the Sunwolves' first try before the pace of Kenki Fukuoka, the power of Himeno and the sleight of hand of Michael Little put Parker away to give the hosts a 29-14 lead at the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Parker kicked a sixth penalty before Saumaki exploited the blindside to go over, giving himself a belated birthday present after turning 26 on May 10.
And the Daito Bunka University graduate was not done, adding two more in the final three minutes to ensure the crowd stayed long after the final whistle to honor their team.
In between, Angus Scott-Young and Filipo Daugunu had touched down for the visitors while the Sunwolves added a penalty try following a high tackle on Jason Emery and yet another penalty from Parker, as the Reds kept handing the ball and momentum back to the hosts.
"The discipline was very poor and we just weren't there mentally," said Thorn.
His skipper James Slipper agreed.
"We could've been more clinical but the Sunwolves played really well and that's pretty humbling for us. They got up in our face and put us under pressure. We got punished today, but from the first whistle, we really hurt ourselves. You've got to turn up and compete hard and today we didn't do that."
While the Reds, who now have four wins and six losses, take on the Hurricanes next week, the Sunwolves fly to Hong Kong to face the Cape Town-based Stormers -- and they will be hoping for more of the same.
"The team had a clear plan and vision and stuck to it," said Sunwolves captain Yutaka Nagare, who almost seemed lost for words immediately after the game when asked to comment on Parker's kicking display.
Joseph summed up the game best when he said, "We have performed well (before) but just could not get over the line. Today we put everything together in the same match."