Hurricanes 83 Sunwolves 17

However big a problem Super Rugby had before this weekend, it is now bigger. Much bigger because the Sunwolves don't have a single reason to justify their existence in this competition.

Even if their inclusion brought a truckload of broadcast dollars - which it hasn't - they wouldn't have any business in Super Rugby.

They avoided, just, suffering the ignominy of being the first team to concede 100 points in a game but they may not be so lucky later in the season when they come to New Zealand.

There's a vested lobby who continually feel the need to defend the Sunwolves' inclusion and insist that, in time, the experiment of going to Japan will come good.


Like gamblers convinced the next horse will be a winner, this conviction that the Sunwolves will suddenly blossom starts to feel a little tired and worrisome. Also a little deluded, because it's nonsense. Utter nonsense based on what was seen last year and certainly based on how they performed against the Hurricanes.

For those with no agenda who just want to watch a good, intense game of football where the outcome is in doubt, it's plain to see the Sunwolves are not up to it. And they are not going to be up to it in five weeks, 10 weeks or 15.

It is kind of noble that New Zealand, Australia and South Africa want to help develop Japanese rugby. But at what cost? And besides, the latter two have a big enough challenge at the moment taking care of their own teams that they can't really be worrying about anyone else.

The Hurricanes looked every inch the defending champions. They were full of running, offloading for fun and playing pretty much like they did at the end of last year when they found this incredible flow.

But as good as they were, it can't be ignored that they were allowed to play the way they wanted. They were able to offload so easily because the Sunwolves didn't have the capacity to wrap man and ball.

The Hurricanes could play how they wanted where they wanted and they will leave Tokyo feeling that they extended their pre-season by a week. Plus they would have seen a bit of Japan and no doubt scoffed some excellent sushi while they were there.

A bit of pass and giggle with nice grub thrown in, lovely as it no doubt was, isn't really what Super Rugby is supposed to be about.

For the record and for what it was worth, Julian Savea looked like he has trained well over the summer and had a sharpness to his work. There were a couple of times he found himself in the open and just ran hard and fast, looking to bump defenders.

That's always a good sign he's confident and eager to get involved and make his presence felt.

The lopsided Canes victory eclipsed the previous biggest away win in Super Rugby history, set by the Waratahs when they beat South Africa's Southern Kings 72-10 in 2013.

But it fell short of the competition's record score of 96-19 racked up by the Crusaders against the Waratahs in 2002.

Hurricanes 83 (A. Savea 2, V. Aso 2, R.Riccitelli, TJ Perenara, J. Savea, N. Laumape, B. Thomson, M. Fatialofa 2, B. Shields, W. Goosen tries; O. Black 9 cons)
Sunwolves 17 (R. Viljoen, S. Kin, W. Britz tries; S. Kin con)