Japan Rugby Top League 2020 Round Four Wrap-up
|Sat, 01 Feb 2020||Mitsubishi Sagamihara||26-45||Toshiba||13:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa|
|Hino||19-48||Yamaha||11:30||Mizuho Stadium, Aichi|
|Toyota||58-29||Honda||14:00||Mizuho Stadium, Aichi|
|Suntory||40-14||NEC||13:00||Expo Stadium, Osaka|
|Sun, 02 Feb 2020||Canon||17-51||Panasonic||13:00||Machida, Tokyo|
|Ricoh||17-33||NTT Communications||13:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa|
|Kobe||97-0||NTT Docomo||13:00||Kobe, Hyogo|
To open round four, Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars and Toshiba Brave Lupus went head to head at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday with Toshiba winning 45-26. The Dynaboars held the Brave Lupus to 19-all at the break before going out to a 26-19 lead early in the latter half. However, the Brave Lupus came home with a wet sail with four second half tries sealing the win. The Dynaboars put up stiff resistance, but the final quarter of the match was crucial. Wings Jone Naikabura and Taiki Matsunobu both scored braces in the Toshiba win.
In the first game of a double header at the Paloma Mizuho Stadium in Nagoya on Saturday afternoon, Yamaha Jubilo beat Hino Red Dolphins 48-19. Jubilo outscored their opposition eight tries to three to guarantee maximum points from the contest. The tries were shared around for the victors, but flyhalf Sam Greene managed to cross for two of the five pointers. Poor discipline in the second half did not help the Hino cause with centre Chance Peni receiving a yellow card while lock Duke Krishnan was red carded late in the game playing against his old club.
In the second game at Mizuho, Toyota Verblitz beat Honda Heat 58-29. Honda stayed with Toyota in the first half, but the Verblitz outclassed the Heat in the second half to run away with the result. Wing Jamie Henry crossed for two of the eight Toyota tries to add to the hat-trick he bagged last week while Japan international number eight Kazuki Himeno also got his name on the score sheet. Japan international wing Lomano Lemeki scored two of the four tries for Honda on the losing side.
At the Expo Stadium in Osaka on Saturday, Suntory Sungoliath defeated NEC Green Rockets 40-14. The Sungoliath ran in six tries to two to make sure they collected maximum points for their efforts. Left wing Tevita Li was the chief destroyer with three tries while five-eighth Matt Giteau contributed five conversions to the scoreboard. Suntory led 14-0 at halftime and extended that to 19-0 early in the second half. From that point on, the Green Rockets were never in the hunt as they fell to their fourth straight loss of the new season.
On Sunday, a 14-man Panasonic Wild Knights side beat Canon Eagles 51-17 at the Machida Gion Stadium in Tokyo. Panasonic hooker and captain Atsushi Sakate was red-carded for dangerous play in the opening minutes of the match leaving the Wild Knights to play virtually all of the match a man down. Panasonic rose to the occasion, though, and ran in seven tries to three to earn their fourth bonus-point win in a row. Right wing Koki Takeyama notched up a brace for the victors while South African centre Damian de Allende was also among the try scorers.
Also on Sunday, Ricoh Black Rams and NTT Communications Shining Arcs faced off at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama with the NTT side winning 33-17. At the completion of a tight first half, the Shining Arcs held a slender 19-17 lead but then went on to dominate the second period. A solid defence kept the Black Rams scoreless in the latter half with additional tries from centre Sylvian Mahuza and former Japan wing Akihito Yamada closing out the bonus-point win for NTT Communications.
Elsewhere, in the highest score of the season to date, Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers racked up a 97-0 win over NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama. Reigning champions Kobe Steel scored 15 unanswered tries in the rout of newly promoted Docomo. Number eight Taumua Naeta dotted down for five tries and halfback Andy Ellis was also among the numerous other scorers. First five Dan Carter added six conversion and bench player Akihiro Shimizu converted another five tries. Unsurprisingly, Naeta was the man of the match.
In a workman-like performance, Kubota Spears beat Munakata Sanix Blues 34-0 in Tosu city in Saga prefecture in the final game of the round. The Spears scored five tries on the day while their highly efficient defence saw the Blues remain scoreless at the end of eighty minutes of rugby. Bernard Foley started the scoreboard ticking over for Kubota with the opening try in the fourteenth minute and then followed that up with four conversions and a penalty. He also walked away with the man-of-the-match award for his efforts. South African back-rowers Duane Vermeulen and Pieter Lappies Labuschagne were also among the try scorers.