Top League Profiles 2018-2019: Honda Heat
2018-2019 Introduction: In the 2017-2018 season, Honda Heat played in the Top Challenge League. The Heat won the TCL to win promotion back to Top League after an absence of one year. This will be the fifth time for Honda to play in Top League.
Head coach Danny Lee will have to raise the bar at Honda this season if the Heat are to keep their place in the league. Honda have been in and out of Top League over the years and so the first priority has to be to stay up in the premier league of Japanese corporate rugby. The Heat have two current Japan internationals and Sunwolves players in the squad in prop Koo Jiwon and wing Lomano Lemeki and their experience is going to be valuable throughout the season. Flanker Ryota Kobayashi is again the captain at Honda in the 2018-19 season and he will have to lead from the front. Other experienced players in the squad include prop Takashi Tanaka, five-eighth Daisuke Konishi and Japan international centre Kaito Morikawa. Foreign players in the squad include South African lock RG Snyman, veteran Fiji No8 Tomasi Soqeta and centre Chris Kuridrani who joins the Heat from the Reds.
The Coach: New Zealander and former All Blacks halfback Danny Lee is in his second year as head coach at Honda in the 2018-2019 season.
The Captain: Flanker Ryota Kobayashi is the captain at Honda in the 2018-2019 season for the second year.
The 2018-2019 Squad: (48) The list starts with captain and vice-captains and continues through forwards and backs in order from props to fullbacks. All family names come last.
Ryota Kobayashi (c), Tomasi Soqeta (v-c), Nobutaka Ubukata (v-c). Forwards: Takashi Tanaka, Tomohiro Nishigaki, Akito Kawamata, Shota Takizawa, Shori Koshida, Miwasuke Go, Takumi Fujii, Hayato Akahira, Koo Jiwon, Goki Amano, Yoki Takeuchi, Masayoshi Marumi, Akito Fujinami, Atsushi Tsukamoto, Yutaro Kamada, Yoji Akiyama, Masaki Kondo, Tetuhi Roberts, RG Snyman, Josh Bekhuis, Hiroto Kawasaki, Kosuke Hattori, David Milo, Deon Stegmann, Ryo Furuta and Mapakaitolo Pasuka, Backs: Kenta Yamaji, Ryota Kayama, Hisayoshi Ito, Daisuke Konishi, Pak Song-gi, Kenta Kutsuna, Baden Kerr, Kaito Morikawa, Koo Jiyoon, Kanta Omata, Masaki Fujisaki, Shaun Treeby, Naoki Motomura, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Chris Kuridrani, Ryo Morita, Yuta Nakarai, Kanta Watanabe and Aidan Toua. Head Coach: Danny Lee (42).