Japan Rugby Top League 2021 Announces New Tournament Format and Season Calendar: Opening Round on Saturday, February 20th, 2021
The Japan Rugby Top League has today announced the new format and calendar of its 2021 season following a delay of its originally scheduled opening round due to coronavirus.
The new format divides 16 teams into two conferences with a single round robin tournament for each to determine the standings. After the completion of the round robin tournaments, a play-off will be played by 20 teams which include the top 4 teams of the Japan Rugby Top Challenge League 2021 to decide the season’s winner. There will be 75 matches in total; 56 conference-stage matches from Saturday, February 20th to Sunday, April 11th and 19 play-off matches from Saturday, April 17th to Sunday, May 23rd.
Further information on tickets sales will be announced as soon as details are finalized.
Japan Rugby Top League 2021 Overview
- Japan Rugby Football Union/Japan Rugby Top League
- Regional Unions in Charge:
- Japan East Rugby Football Union, Kansai Rugby Football Union, Kyushu Rugby, Football Union and prefectural unions of the host cities
- Tournament Dates:
- Saturday, February 20th to Sunday, May 23rd, 2021
- Number of Participating Teams:
- 25 teams (16 Top League teams and 9 Top Challenge League teams)
- Law of the Game:
- The tournament will be played according to the World Rugby Law of the Game of the tournament year.
- A match time will comprise two-halves of 40 minutes with a half time period of 12 minutes.
- Tournament Format:
- Round-robin conference stage (2 conferences) and play-off stage
16 teams will be divided into 2 conferences of 8 teams each (RED and WHITE) with a single round-robin tournament in each conference.
Teams are allocated to 8 bands of 2 teams each based on the final standings of the 2018-19 season. A lottery was conducted to divide the teams in each band to the 2 conferences.
|Red Conference||White Conference|
|Suntory Sungoliath (2nd)||Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers (1st)|
|Toyota Verblitz (4th)||Yamaha Jubilo (3rd)|
|NTT Communications ShiningArcs (5th)||Panasonic Wild Knights (6th)|
|Kubota Spears (7th)||Ricoh Black Rams (8th)|
|Honda HEAT（9th）||NEC Green Rockets (10th)|
|Toshiba Brave Lupus (11th)||Canon Eagles (12th)|
|Munakata Sanix Blues (13th)||Hino Red Dolphins(14th)|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars (15th)||NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes (1st in TCL)|
The top 4 teams of the Japan Rugby Top Challenge League 2021 final standings will join the 16 Japan Rugby Top League teams to play a play-off tournament (19 matches) to decide the winner of the Top League 2021 season.
- Number of the Matches:
- 75 matches in total
- Method for Determining Final Standings:
- Article 39 of the Japan Rugby Top League Regulations shall be applied for both the conference-stage and the play-off stage.
Based on the Japan Rugby Top League 2021 standings, the following commemorative gifts will be presented to award the teams respectively as follows:
- Winner: Top League trophy and champion flag
- Runners-up: Top League plaque
- Bronze: Top League plaque
- Fair Team Award: Top League commemorative gift
- 3 points for a yellow card and 10 points for a red card shall be added to the team’s total number of infringements.
- Any team receiving a suspension shall be excluded from selection of the Fair Team Award.
The following commemorative gifts will be presented to award the players who achieved excellent performance respectively as follows:
- MVP, 2) The Top Points Scorer, 3) The Top try scorer, 4) The Top Place Kickers, 5) The Greatest Fifteen, 6) Best-whistle Award
- Man of the Match
In all league-stage matches, the Match Commissioner shall select and award the Man of the Match and a commemorative gift to a player who achieved the best performance in the match.
- Individual Awards
JRTL may select and award the rookie of the season to a player by the method separately specified by the league and also individual awards to players by fan vote.
- Person of Merit Award
- JRTL may honor a person who had given distinguished services in the growth of Japan rugby through the league by awarding commemorative gifts.
- Those awarded in 1) shall be selected by the Selection Committee based on the recommendation by the league.
Japan Rugby Top League 2021 Tournament Format Chart
- Japan Rugby Top League 2021
Kick-off time changed (Updated 2nd February 2021):
- Round 3. NEC Green Rockets v Yamaha Jubilo kick-off time has changed to 12:00
- Round 7. Suntory Sungoliath v NTT Communications Shining Arcs Kick-off time has changed to 13:00
- Top Challenge League 2021 (Updated on 26, January 2021)
- Japan Rugby Top League 2021 Playoff Tournament
- Tournament Bracket
Japan Rugby Top League 2021: Lists of Venues
*Details on the Japan Rugby Top Challenge League 2021 are available on the Japan East Rugby Football Union’s website: https://www.rugby.or.jp/