Sunwolves beaten by Lions in Super Rugby debut

Yu Tamura, center, of Japan's Sunwolves is tackled by Warwick Tecklenburg, center back, of South Africa's Lions during their opening match at the Super Rugby competition in Tokyo, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Lions won 26-13. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) The debut appearance of the Tokyo-based Sunwolves in Super Rugby competition ended in defeat on Saturday, as they were beaten 26-13 at home by the Johannesburg-based Lions.

The visitors dominated the first half with tries by Robbie Coetzee and Courtnall Skosan to take 12-6 lead at halftime, and that became 19-6 early in the second half after a try by Jaco Kriel and conversion by Elton Jantjies.

Shota Horie gave the capacity crowd a thrill when he scored the Sunwolves historic first try in the 59th minute, but hopes of a comeback were soon ended when Lionel Mapoe went over for another try for the Lions in the 65th minute.

The Sunwolves, who will also play some home games in Singapore, are one of two new teams for this season.