Japan Rugby Top League 2020 Round Five Wrap-up
Round 5 Wrap-up
|Sat, 15 Feb 2020||Canon||24-39||Honda||11:30||Kumagaya, Saitama|
|NTT Communications||74-11||Sanix||13:00||Yumenoshima Stadium, Tokyo|
|NTT Docomo||7-82||Yamaha||11:30||Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka|
|Suntory||60-14||Toyota||14:00||Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka|
|Kobe||43-6||Ricoh||13:00||Universiade Stadium, Kobe|
|Sun, 16 Feb 2020||Kubota||49-12||Hino||13:00||Yumenoshima Stadium, Tokyo|
|Mitsubishi Sagamihara||21-14||NEC||13:00||Sagamihara, Kanagawa|
To open round five, Canon Eagles and Honda Heat went head to head in the first game of a double header at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Saitama prefecture. The Eagles could not match it with the Heat as Honda ran out convincing 39-24 winners. After three losses on the trot, Honda upset the ambitions of Canon with this five-tries-to-three effort. Veteran number eight Tomasi Soqeta and centre Shaun Treeby were among the try scorers in the first half giving the Heat a commanding 31-3 lead at the break. The second half was a more even contest, but the deficit was just too big to overcome for Canon. Honda playmaker Baden Kerr was the man of the match on the back of four conversions and two penalties.
In the second game at Kumagaya, two of the three unbeaten sides in the league in Panasonic Wild Knights and Toshiba Brave Lupus faced off with the Wild Knights winning 46-27. Panasonic won with maximum points, but the scoreboard flattered them. Todd Blackadder’s Toshiba were well in the contest over the first hour of play, but four quick tries over the final quarter blew out the final score line for Panasonic. The Brave Lupus led 27-22 early in the second period, largely due to a brace from Fiji-born wing Jone Naikabura, but after that, it was all Panasonic. Wing Koki Takeyama was among the late try scorers, while replacement Taiki Koyama added the final two tries.
Elsewhere on Saturday, NTT Communications Shining Arcs pounded Munakata Sanix Blues 74-11 at the Yumenoshima Stadium in Tokyo. The Shining Arcs contained the Blues enough in the first half to take a comfortable 29-11 lead in to halftime but then exploded in the second half. NTT piled on seven tries after the break with Japan number eight Amanaki Mafi helping himself to three of the five pointers. South African hooker Malcolm Marx finished the match with a brace and another man-of-the-match award.
In the first game of a double header at the Yanmar Stadium Nagai in Osaka on Saturday afternoon, Yamaha Jubilo battered NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 82-7. The Red Hurricanes suffered a thumping 97-0 loss to Kobe in round four and this 12-tries-to-one drubbing at the hands of Yamaha only adds to their ongoing woes. The Jubilo played an expansive game from the get go with wings Malo Tuitama and Jayden Ngamanu both scoring hat-tricks. Elsewhere, veteran Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru chipped in with eleven from twelve conversion attempts.
In the second game in Osaka, two of the heavyweights in the league faced off with Suntory Sungoliath overwhelming Toyota Verblitz 60-14. In a contest that was expected to be evenly matched, Toyota produced a highly disappointing performance to allow Suntory to run away with the result. The Sungoliath ran in tries at will to lead 29-0 at halftime and then 60-0 going in to the final ten minutes of play. The Verblitz scored two late consolation tries in what was a forgettable afternoon for them in Osaka. Right wing Shota Emi, fullback Kotaro Matsushima and replacement Yusuke Kajimura all scored doubles for Suntory.
In the final Saturday game, Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers hammered Ricoh Black Rams 43-6 at the Universiade Stadium in Kobe city. Reigning champions Kobe Steel kept the impressive wins coming with seven unanswered tries giving them the added bonus point. Dan Carter was rested this week, but that did not seem to concern the star-studded Steelers as they put the Black Rams to the sword. Number eight Taumua Naeta, wing Rakuhei Yamashita and Japan international fullback Ryohei Yamanaka were among the try scorers for Kobe. Yamanaka also came away with the man-of-the-match award.
On Sunday, Kubota Spears beat Hino Red Dolphins 49-12 at the Yumenoshima Stadium in Tokyo. Kubota are pulling their weight this season with four wins from the first five rounds keeping them near the top of the table. The Spears have playmaker Bernard Foley to thank for a lot of that with a try and seven conversions from as many attempts giving him another man-of-the-match award for the season. Centre Ryan Crotty and South African back-rower Duane Vermeulen were also among the try scorers for the Spears. Hino experienced their fourth loss of the year to go with their one win.
In the final game of round five, Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars beat NEC Green Rockets 21-14 in Sagamihara city in Kanagawa prefecture. This was a battle of the two winless sides in the competition, so the Dynaboars came up with what was, in effect, their first-ever win in Top League. The newly promoted Dynaboars previously had one season in Top League back in 2007-8, but they went through that season without a win. At home, Mitsubishi had nothing to lose and gave it everything against a struggling NEC. The scores were tied at 14-all at the completion of the first half with number eight Heiden Bedwell-Curtis scoring the winning try midway through the second half.