Kobe Steel Claim Top League Title

TOKYO (Dec.15) – Kobe Kobelco Steelers beat Suntory Sungoliath 55-5 on Saturday to claim their second Japan Rugby Top League title and 11th All-Japan Championship.

Playing in front of a crowd of 17,401 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, the Steelers scored eight tries with Fraser Anderson and Ryohei Yamanaka both touching down twice.

Ryuhei Arita, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Franklin, and Grant Hattingh also crossed the chalk with Dan Carter adding five conversions and a penalty goal and Hayden Parker kicking a conversion.

“You get what you prepare for and our preparation was awesome especially leading into his game,” Said Kobe coach Dave Dillon.

Seiya Ozaki scored Suntory’s lone try.

“Kobe were very good for the full 80 minutes and we simply couldn’t play our style of rugby,” said Suntory captain Yutaka Nagare.

In the day’s seven other games, a late penalty by Gerrie Labuschagne helped Yamaha Jubilo to a 15-12 victory over Toyota Verblitz in the third-place playoff, while NTT Communications Shining Arcs edged Panasonic Wild Knights 43-41 for fifth spot.

Gerhard van den Heever scored 20 points as Kubota Spears downed Ricoh Black Rams 30-26 for seventh place, Honda Heat beat NEC Green Rockets 30-24 for ninth spot and Toshiba Brave Lupus topped Canon Eagles 31-18 for 11th place.

Meanwhile, a last-minute try by Wang Soo Young saw Munakata Sanix Blues down Hino Red Dolphins 37-34 for 13th place, while Toyota Industries Shuttles ensured Coca-Cola Red Sparks finished in bottom spot thanks to a 36-31 victory.

The Red Sparks will now play TCL champions NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in the final round of playoffs – one-off promotion/relegation games, to played on Dec. 23, between the bottom four sides of the top flight and the top four sides in the Top Challenge League.

The Shuttles will play TCL runners-up Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars, Hino will take on Kintetsu Liners, while Sanix will battle it out with Kurita Water Gush, who finished fourth in the second division.