The Queensland Reds have sealed their first win of the season with a thrilling second-half fightback against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
A Hamish Stewart penalty in the 79th minute handed the Reds a 34-31 victory after an injection of bench players sparked a Queensland turnaround.
Trailing by 16 points at the break, the Reds scored three tries in seven minutes to take the lead before an error at the restart allowed the Sunwolves to score again and regain the lead.
But the Reds dug in and when Harry Hockings charged down a Sunwolves kick, Tate McDermott was there to pick up the scraps and dive over for a try that again levelled the scores.
Stewart missed the conversion but stepped up to slot a penalty after the Reds drove deep into their attacking zone from the restart after an outstanding run from Filipo Daugunu gave them the field position they needed to be in scoring range.
Daugunu came on in a second-half backline reshuffle and was among the bench players that reshaped the match for the Reds.
The injection of McDermott at scrumhalf for Sorovi allowed the Reds quick ball at the breakdown and they played a simpler game, using their forward strength and outstanding fitness to their advantage, with replacements Hockings, Feao Fotuaika and Brandon Paenga-Amosa among the pack leaders in the revival.
Paenga-Amosa finished with a second-half double as the Reds clawed their way back into a match that was crucial to their season.
After conceding three tries in the opening half, the Reds trailed 21-5 at the break and needed a drastic improvement to break their 2019 hoodoo.
Trailing 21-5 at the start of the second half, the Reds reduced the deficit in the 58th minute as another scrum penalty and maul resulted in a try for Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hamish Stewart slotting the conversion.
Sunwolves were still reeling from that try when the Reds struck again three minutes later, substitute Harry Hoopert finishing off a great team move after building all the way from the back through seven phases.
Paenga-Amosa bagged his second try four minutes later following a TMO decision, handing the Reds the lead for the first time, with Stewart converting to make it 21 points in 6 minutes by the visitors.
Sunwolves struck back in the 68th minute, drawing level as Keisuke Uchida raced over the line following an error by the Reds from the kick-off.
But the Reds were having none of it as Tate McDermott dived over after an attempted clearance was charged down, only for Stewart to send his conversion wide of the mark.
Stewart quickly made amends for that miss, however, as he slotted a penalty in the 79th minute to help the Reds claim their first win of 2019.
Sunwolves – Tries: Jamie Booth, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Dan Pryor. Conversions: Hayden Parker (4). Penalty: Parker.
Reds – Tries: Liam Wright, Brandon Paenga-Amosa (2), Harry Hoopert, Tate McDermott. Conversions: Hamish Stewart (3). Penalty: Stewart.