Japan League One Division 2 And 3 Weekly Review

Japan League One Division 2 And 3 Weekly Review

Toyota Industries Corporation Shuttles Aichi are one of two teams still unbeaten in Division Two after dousing NEC

Green Rockets Tokatsu’s flame with a 36-25 win at Aichi yesterday.

Led by the evergreen Englishman Freddie Burns, who kicked 11 points, the Shuttles fought back to bury ex-Wales

coach Wayne Pivac’s NEC, scoring five second half tries after the Green Rockets had appeared in total command

when they fired to a 22-3 lead just after halftime.

Samoa backrower Taleni Seu marked his return to the club he played for in 2019 by scoring the final try of an

impressive performance by the Shuttles, who never lost faith despite conceding the first three tries of the game,

two of which were scored by Australian-born second rower Sam Jeffries, and star Brave Blossoms fullback Lemeki

Lomano Lavava.

Red Hurricanes Osaka are also unbeaten, but only just, after they overcame a brave Japan Steel Kamaishi

Seawaves 27-25, with the visitors showing plenty of fight following the loss of veteran backrower Sam Henwood to

a red card for dangerous play just five minutes into the game.

The Seawaves put up a courageous performance in the New Zealander’s absence, twice coming from behind, and

taking the lead when backrower Kohei Ishigaki scored his side’s fourth try with just three minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Kamaishi, the conversion missed, and the concession of an injury time penalty allowed the Red

Hurricanes to escape despite being out-scored four tries to three.

The winning goal was kicked by the veteran Australian flyhalf Bryce Hegarty, who endeared himself to his new club

by landing all five of his shots at goal, while Seawaves flyhalf Kazushi Ochi had the misfortune to miss four of his

five attempts.

The other match of the round saw Urayasu D-Rocks overpower Kyuden Voltex 57-12, with Samu Kerevi’s first try

for his new club being one of nine scored by the team, five of which came in the second half to win that stretch

33-0, as the Voltex fell away.

Voltex had made an excellent start when former Brumbies backrower Colby Fainga’a scored his second try in as

many weeks to give the visitors a short-lived early lead.

Having trounced Kurita Water Gush Akishima 38-5 in one of their three meetings last season, Mazda SkyActivs

Hiroshima repeated the feat on Saturday to make an excellent start to their new campaign.

The home side drew away in the second half to win 30-15, after the two sides had been locked together, 10-10,

straight after halftime.

The SkyActivs were helped by nine points from on-debut flyhalf Beaudein Waaka, a former All Black Sevens

representative, who joined the club in the off season from Kobe, while the Canberra Raiders rugby league

graduate Lachlan Osborne scored the game’s opening try.

Big Names, Big Crowds: After showing its potential as the game’s future last weekend, where its crowd average

rivalled the opening round of the European Cup, Japan Rugby League One smashed European attendances in

round two, with two crowds topping the 30,000 mark. The Fuchu derby attracted 31,953 to Tokyo’s Ajinomoto

Stadium, while 31,321 fans flocked to Nissan Stadium in Kanagawa to watch Yokohama Canon Eagles’ thrilling win

over Toyota Verblitz. Both gatherings were under 10,000 less than that of last seasons’ final, and the competition

is well on track to pass its goal of one million spectators through the gates for the season, while showing elite

players from other countries the experience that awaits, should they decide in the future to play in Japan. The

combined crowd for the six round two games in Division One was 95,172, with an average of 15,862 per game

coming through the turnstiles. Overall, 165,747 fans have attended the 12 games thus far played in Division One.

Brilliant Burua: A breakout star for Yokohama last term when he scored 13 tries from 17 games in his maiden

season of Japan Rugby League One, the first two weeks of the 2023-24 competition have suggested, if anything,

that winger Burua Inoke is getting even better. The former Fiji age-grade player crossed the goal-line in the Eagles’

opening round loss at Saitama and did it again in front of the massive crowd yesterday against Toyota where the

five points mattered infinitely more, helping Canon to a narrow win. With new Japanese coach Eddie Jones known

to love having big and fast wingers in his side, and Inoke on track to qualify on residency, it might not just be local

‘heads’ that the 24-year-old is soon turning.

Why is it always Hiroshima?: Kurita Gush Akishima coach Wycliff Palu must wonder what it is about the beautiful

city of Hiroshima that seemingly spooks his players. Despite twice beating Mazda SkyActivs in Tokyo last term,

yesterday’s visit to southern Honshu was a disaster, and while they got closer to the home side than last season’s

33-point rout, they were still nowhere near good enough as the locals raced clear in the second spell to record a

15-point win. The defeat was an ominous start for the former Wallaby, who narrowly missed out on achieving

promotion with his team last season, as Palu’s men visit in-form Hino Red Dolphins next.

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