Japan's Sunwolves have left their best until last, crush the three-time Super Rugby champion Auckland Blues 48-21 in their final match of the season.
Timothy Lafaele scored a hat-trick of tries as the Sunwolves fought back from a 21-5 deficit to earn their first victory over a New Zealand side in sweltering Tokyo conditions that reached more than 40 degrees Celsius prior to kickoff.
While both sides were out of playoff contention, the Blues were full of confidence, having beaten the British and Irish Lions in their last competitive match last month.
They came out firing as James Parsons, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and Michael Collins all crossed inside the first 25 minutes.
The home side, who had conceded 142 points in their last two games, responded with some scintillating backline play and superb scrambling defence.
Keisuke Uchida reduced the deficit to 21-12 at halftime before the home side ran riot after the break as they capitalised on Jerome Kaino being sinbinned for a high tackle, adding a penalty try with Kaito Shigeno also going over.
Lafaele crossed twice more before Yoshitaka Tokunaga completed the scoring after a pulsating second half performance in which they scored six tries.
It was the most tries they had scored in a game in their short Super Rugby existence.
"You can't take anything for granted in this competition," Blues coach Tana Umaga told the New Zealand Herald.
"They just wanted it more. That's all down to attitude. At the contact area they challenged us there and their defence was relentless.
"It made us make errors. We lacked a bit of focus on our game and when you haven't got the attitude right we get what we got today."