The Brumbies leave Tokyo proud of a gritty round one win, coach Dan McKellar says.
When the Japanese visited Canberra in 2016, the Brumbies romped to a 66-5 win, but it was far closer this time around, with the ACT coming back from 14-3 deficit to clinch a 32-25 win.
McKellar said he was pleased with the fight his side showed in their season opener.
“I’m just very proud of our team for showing resilience and worked hard to grind out a win in a tough environment, so overall feeling really proud of our group,” he said.
The Sunwolves disrupted the Brumbies early in the match and McKellar said it took his side too long to adjust.
“We just didn’t do that (execute our plan) probably in the first 20 minutes, we turned over possession and the Sunwolves managed to take advantage of that,” he said.
“Going back to what our plan was which was simple and clear, I was very happy with how the group was better at that.
“In the second half we managed to be better at that we weren’t perfect but the second we were better at that.
“Then defensively we just had to make a couple of adjustments to where we were being exposed.
“They had a tactic of going two phases and coming back at our forwards...and again we were better in the second half.”
McKellar and co-captain Christian Lealiifano were both quick to heap praise on the much-improved Sunwolves, who shape as a growing threat in their third season of Super Rugby.
“I think as a group they should be really proud of their performance today, because we were well and truly challenged,” McKellar said.
The Brumbies head to Queensland next week to face the Reds on Friday night. Buy tickets here.