Japan Rugby Top League 2020 Round Two Wrap-up

Round Two Wrap-up

Date Team Score Team K/O Venue
Sat, 18 Jan 2020 Mitsubishi Sagamihara 15-23 Canon 11:30 Chichibunomiya, Tokyo
Suntory 22-10 NTT Communications 14:00 Chichibunomiya, Tokyo
Yamaha 24-36 Kobe 13:00 Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka
Toyota 20-40 Panasonic 13:00 Toyota Stadium, Aichi
NEC 17-27 Hino 11:45 Hanazono, Osaka
Toshiba 39-21 NTT Docomo 14:00 Hanazono, Osaka
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 Honda 21-23 Kubota 13:00 Suzuka, Mie
Sanix 16-18 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, Canon Eagles beat Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars 23-15 for their first win of the year. The Dynaboars, who are back in Top League for the first time since the 2007-8 season, led 15-10 at the break but could not go on with it in the latter half. The Eagles scored three tries to two with international playmaker Yu Tamura contributing with two conversions and two penalties.


In the second game at Chichibu, Suntory Sungoliath scored their first win of the season when they beat NTT Communications Shining Arcs 22-10. The Sungoliath had a surprise loss to archrivals Toshiba on this ground last week, but the strength and depth of their squad came through against the NTT side this round. The Shining Arcs held a 12-0 lead at halftime on the back of tries to outside backs Yusuke Kajimura and Tevita Li. Suntory then maintained the pressure in the second half to deny NTT any chance of a comeback.


Defending Top League champions Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers stamped their authority on the competition at the Yamaha Stadium in Shizuoka where they had an impressive 36-24 win over hosts Yamaha Jubilo. The Steelers scored five tries to three with number eight Taumua Naeata picking up a brace while lock Brodie Retallick was also among the other try scorers. Meanwhile, Dan Carter added four conversions and a penalty. Although Yamaha scored the opening try of the match, the Jubilo struggled to stay with the Steelers for the rest of the match allowing this star-studded side to collect the winning points.


At the Toyota Stadium in Aichi, Panasonic Wild Knights overcame a first half deficit to run out comfortable 40-20 winners over hosts Toyota Verblitz. This was another clash of the titans with both these outfits full of promise this season. However, the Wild Knights came out on top after a rampant second half that produced 33 points. The Verblitz led 13-7 at the end of the first half only to concede five tries in the latter stanza. The tries were shared around for Panasonic with World Cup hero Kenki Fukuoka and South African centre Damian de Allende among the scorers. Fullback Willie le Roux was among the try scorers for Toyota.


In the first game of a double header at the Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka on Saturday afternoon, the miserable start to the season continued for NEC Green Rockets when they were humbled 27-17 by Hino Red Dolphins. Hino fullback Jack Debreczeni was the big difference between the two sides after he converted all three tries and added two penalties for a personal tally of 12 points from the match. For the Red Dolphins, this was their first win of the season after they went down to NTT Communications in round one.


In the other game at Hanazono, Toshiba Brave Lupus pummelled NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 39-21. The Brave Lupus had an inspiring win over Suntory in their first game of the new season last week, and this gave them momentum against newly promoted Docomo. Toshiba outscored Docomo by six tries to three with five of them coming in the second half. NTT actually led 8-7 at halftime, but they could not sustain the pressure for the full eighty minutes.


In the first of two games on Sunday, Honda Heat were in their home town of Suzuka city in Mie prefecture to play host to Kubota Spears. However, the Heat had to settle for a mere losing bonus point after the Spears held on for a close 23-21 win. Honda led 14-3 at the break, but the boot of former Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley was the difference in the end as he converted both tries and added three penalties.


In the final game of round two, Munakata Sanix Blues were again at the Level-5 Stadium in Fukuoka to host Ricoh Black Rams. The Black Rams spoilt the party for the Blues as the visitors did enough to hold on for an 18-16 victory. Ricoh started well as they got out to a 13-0 lead at one point in the opening stanza before going to the break 13-6 to the better. Sanix went on to win the second half, but they still fell short of the overall win. In a gripping final quarter to the game, only two points separated the two sides. Nonetheless, neither side could add to the scoreboard over that period with Ricoh running out winners.