Tokyo: Japan's Sunwolves put in a brave performance on debut but went down 26-13 to the Lions at a sold-out Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium as Asia welcomed Super Rugby for the first time on Saturday.
Skipper Shota Horie fired up the 25,000 crowd when he scored the Tokyo-based outfit's first try in the competition after 61 minutes but for all their disciplined effort, the new boys were unable to hold out the seasoned South Africans.
Hooker Robbie Coetzee, winger Courtnall Skosan, flanker Jaco Kriel and centre Lionel Mapoe all crossed as the Johannesburg-based side secured a bonus point and the victory margin would have been greater if Elton Jantjies had been more accurate from the tee.
The Sunwolves are one of three new teams in Super Rugby this season. Argentina's Jaguares came from behind to beat the Cheetahs 34-33 on debut in Bloemfontein on Friday, while South Africa's Kings face the Sharks later on Saturday.