Kobe Top Yamaha to Stay Unbeaten

SHIZUOKA, Japan (Sept. 30) – Kobe Kobelco Steelers maintained their unbeaten start to the 2017-18 Japan Rugby Top League season Saturday as they beat Yamaha Jubilo 38-19 at Ecopa Stadium.

Jim McKay’s side scored six tries to pick up a bonus point and go top of the Red Conference with 27 points ahead of Sunday’s four games.

Yamaha will remain second in the White Conference, no matter what happens Sunday, as they dropped to their second loss of the season.

Kenji Shomen bagged a brace of tries for the Steelers after coming on as a first-half replacement for Nick Ealey.

Andy Ellis, Ryuta Yasui, Shohei Maekawa and Andries Bekker also crossed the chalk with Ealey kicking one conversion and Ryohei Yamanaka three.

Kyosuke Horie, Yuya Odo and Chikara Ito touched down for Yamaha with Ayumu Goromaru slotting two conversions.

In the first game of the doubleheader at one of the 12 venues for Rugby World Cup 2019, Canon Eagles picked up their first victory of the season as they beat Coca-Cola Red Sparks 33-29.

Hosea Saumaki ran in a hat-trick of five pointers for the Eagles and JC Roos kicked three conversions, three penalty goals and a drop goal, as the Eagles went fifth in the White Conference with five points, one more than Munakata Sanix Blues, who play Kintetsu Liners on Sunday.

Naoki Sarugaku touched down twice for the Red Sparks and there were further tries for Kameli Soejima, Will Tupou and Mitsumasa Harayama, with Daniel Peters adding two conversions.

The defeat leaves Coca-Cola stranded at the bottom of the White Conference with two points.

This season the league has been split into two conferences.

Teams play the seven other sides in their conference plus six from the other group to determine the rankings for the end of season playoffs, with the top four sides competing for the league title, which doubles as the All-Japan Championship.