Japan Rugby Top League 2020 Round Two Preview


Date Team Score Team K/O Venue
Sat, 18 Jan 2020 Mitsubishi Sagamihara Canon 11:30 Chichibu, Tokyo
Suntory NTT Communications 14:00 Chichibu, Tokyo
Yamaha Kobe 13:00 Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka
Toyota Panasonic 13:00 Toyota Stadium, Aichi
NEC Hino 11:45 Hanazono, Osaka
Toshiba NTT Docomo 14:00 Hanazono, Osaka
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 Honda Kubota 13:00 Suzuka, Mie
Sanix Ricoh 14:00 Level-5 Stadium, Fukuoka


In the first game of a double header at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon, Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars play Canon Eagles. The Dynaboars are back in Top League for the first time since the 2007-8 season, but they started with a 31-24 loss to NTT Docomo in Osaka in the opening round. The Eagles also started the new season with a loss when they went down 50-16 to reigning champions Kobe Steel in Kobe city last Sunday. Barring a draw, one of these two sides will leave the nation’s capital with their first win of the year on Saturday.


In the second game at Chichibu, Suntory Sungoliath play NTT Communications Shining Arcs. The Sungoliath had a surprise 26-19 loss to archrivals Toshiba on this ground last week, but the strength and depth of their squad should be too much for the NTT side this round. The Shining Arcs started with a good 29-20 win over Hino at this venue in the opening week; however, Suntory will be a far tougher opposition.


Yamaha Jubilo and Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers go head to head at the Yamaha Stadium in Shizuoka in one of the big games this round. Yamaha stay at home for the second week in a row after they beat Toyota 31-29 at their home stadium in the opening round. Kobe Steel were also winners in the opening round of matches with a comfortable 50-16 win over Canon in Kobe city. The Jubilo will be looking to get one over the star-studded Steelers, but it will be anything but easy going.


At the Toyota Stadium in Aichi. Toyota Verblitz host Panasonic Wild Knights. This is another clash of the titans with both these outfits full of promise this season. Last weekend, Toyota had a scratchy start losing 31-29 to Yamaha in Shizuoka, but at home, they will start as favourites for the win. On the other hand, the Wild Knights cruised through Kubota 34-11 in Kumagaya in their first game, but the Verblitz will test their mettle in the Toyota heartland.


In the first game of a double header at the Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka on Saturday afternoon, NEC Green Rockets play Hino Red Dolphins. The Green Rockets had a disappointing start to their season with a 24-18 loss to Sanix in Fukuoka, and so they will be looking to bounce back against Hino. The Red Dolphins are also coming off a loss after they went down 29-20 to NTT Communications in Tokyo.


In the other game at Hanazono, Toshiba Brave Lupus play NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes. The Brave Lupus had an inspiring 26-19 win over Suntory in Tokyo in their first game of the new season, and this should give them momentum against newly promoted Docomo. However, the Red Hurricanes also started with a win after they beat Mitsubishi Sagamihara 31-24 on this ground last week. Docomo are back in Top League this season after winning promotion from the Top Challenge League.


In the first of two games on Sunday, Honda Heat are in their home town of Suzuka city in Mie prefecture to play host to Kubota Spears. The Heat had a solid 28-5 win over Ricoh in Osaka last Sunday, and that will give them confidence against Kubota. The Spears succumbed 34-11 to Panasonic in Kumagaya, but they will fancy their prospects against Honda.


In the final game of round two, Munakata Sanix Blues are again at the Level-5 Stadium in Fukuoka to host Ricoh Black Rams. The home ground advantage produced an encouraging 24-18 win over NEC and if Ricoh again stutter, another win is well and truly on the cards. The Black Rams faltered badly against Honda in Osaka last week going down 28-5.