Gallant Cheetahs come from behind to defeat Sunwolves
A spirited second-half comeback from the Cheetahs proved too hot to handle for the Sunwolves as the Japanese newcomers were edged out 32-31 in tropical Singapore and still await their first win.
A hat-trick from right wing Akihito Yamada and stellar kicking performance from Samoan flyhalf Tusi Pisi meant the partisan crowd of 8,808 dared to believe for large parts of the game, before wilting in the second half.
After a scrappy opening, it was the Sunwolves who led after four minutes when Yamada dived in the corner following some lacklustre Cheetah defending.
Pisi duly converted before the Cheetahs struck back with two penalties in quick succession, both from the boot of Niel Marais.
The Sunwolves roared back to life as Yamada added another try, with Pisi kicking another conversion. Marais then dragged the Cheetahs back, flinging himself onto the loose ball for the try before converting.
But the Sunwolves were not to be denied, as Yamada sealed his hat-trick and skipper Shota Hori added their fourth a minute before the half. Pisi made both conversions.
The Sunwolves then extended their 28-13 halftime advantage with Pisi hammering home a penalty.
The Cheetahs were not done yet, with quick tries from Uzair Cassiem and Marais narrowing the Sunwolves' lead to four points, with Marais kicking both conversions.
The game swung in the way of the Cheetahs when Sunwolves were hit with a double blow as Pisi limped off on the 70 minute mark and Edward Quirk was sin-binned.
The away side took full advantage, with Boom Prinsloo adding a try and the South African side held on for their first win.