The Sunwolves made a statement to the tournament organisers as they left the Waratahs shell-shocked.
The Sunwolves stunned the Waratahs for only their second away victory ever, and first in Australia – winning 31-29 in Newcastle on Friday.
It was a timely message from the struggling franchise, which a week ago learned it would be axed at the end of next season.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks on the field and off but the boys just put it behind them and dug deep,” Sunwolves captain Dan Pryor said.
“I said to them ‘keep working, keep working’ and it paid off.”
Coach Tony Brown said they want to win every game they play and are not there just to make up the numbers.
“We have played some pretty good rugby this year,” he said.
“We have been unlucky not to win a few more games.
“We are good enough to beat every team in this competition and we want to win every game that we play.
“If we can string a few wins together, we can do some good things.”
For the Waratahs it was a dramatic turnaround, just a week after ending the record-setting 19-match winning streak of the mighty Crusaders.
“The highs and lows of rugby,” Tahs coach Daryl Gibson said.
“In seven days we had quite polarising performances,” Gibson added.
“I thought we didn’t play with the same intensity and/or the intent that we showed last week and that’s something we’re going to be reviewing.”
Tahs captain Michael Hooper admitted his team didn’t play well enough.
“We settled into a pace that wasn’t world class standard and I’m very disappointed,” he said.
The Tokyo-based Sunwolves piled on four tries in 20 minutes either side of half-time.
Wing Semisi Masirewa, with a hat-trick, was the hero for the Sunwolves as the Waratahs paid the price for a sloppy, complacent performance.
It was sure to be a long bus trip back to Sydney for Gibson’s side, especially any Wallabies wannabes who picked a bad match to underwhelm in front of Rugby Australia’s new Director of Performance Scott Johnson.
Only hours earlier, on his first day in the job, Johnson spoke positively to the Australian media about the Wallabies’ World Cup chances later this year in Japan.
But Johnson could not possibly have been impressed by what he saw in the Waratahs as he watched the game alongside RA boss Raelene Castle.
Coach Gibson’s decision to rest star playmaker Bernard Foley, under the Wallabies’ rotation policy, backfired spectacularly with fill-in flyhalf Mack Mason having a shocker.
Gibson had little choice but to hook Mason 57 minutes into the contest after a series of howlers from the 24-year-old rookie.
The last straw came when Mason threw a wild pass on the halfway line that Masirewa scooped up before racing 40 metres for his third try that gifted the Sunwolves an ultimately match-winning nine-point buffer.
Kurtley Beale did his best to reel in the deficit after moving to flyhalf, but not even his converted try a quarter of an hour from full-time could save the Waratahs’ blushes.
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