Former All Blacks take centre stage in round two of the Top League

Former All Blacks take centre stage in round two of the Top League

Suntory Sungoliath and Panasonic Wild Knights led the two conferences in the Top League after two rounds of action.

Sungoliath claimed a comfortable 14-31 victory over Honda in round two while the Wild Knights thrashed Hino 60-12. 


Kobe Steelers were the big victors in round two smashing Canon 73-10.

We round out the weekend's action below. 

Toshiba Brave Lupus 7-39 Kubota Spears


 Man of the match: Bernard Foley


Former Wallabies pivot Bernard Foley produced a man of the match performance as Kubota Spears stunned Toshiba 7-39 in Tokyo. Foley scored 12 points from the tee as former Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke's side went two from two to start the season. Todd Blackadder meanwhile, have now lost their opening two games of the season having gone down to Toyota Verblitz in round one. 

Kubota centre Harumichi Tatekawa opened the scoring in the 25th minute after a testing start to the encounter. Tatekawa run an excellent line onto a brilliant pass from scrumhalf Daisuke Inoue before reaching out to score. That would be the only score of the first half as Kubota led 7-0. A slick counter-attack paired with some suspect defence saw Kubota score their second try of the game just two minutes into the second half. Foley attacked two defenders from a loose kick before sending Gerhard van den Heever away down the flank, the winger chipped and chased with the bounce of the ball beating him but not his fullback Kim Suryug who was on hand to finish the try. Foley added the extras and consecutive penalties as the Spears went 0-20 up after 55 minutes. Inoue intercepted a Toshiki Kuwayama pass to sprint in from 40 metres out as the score starting to look ugly for Toshiba. 

Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx took his try tally for the season to three off the back of a powerful driving maul in the 63rd minute before Toshiba finally got on the scoreboard through Shohei Toyoshima. Finau Tupa put the finishing touches on the result after Tim Bateman tried a cross kick to his winger from behind his own tryline. The ball went over the touchline and Tomoki Kishioka took it quickly to Tupa who had no one in front of him as he strolled in for the score.

NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 38-19 NEC Green Rockets

 Man of the match:  TJ Perenara

TJ Perenara was at the heart of the Red Hurricanes' victory over NEC Green Rockets as Johan Ackermann's side also picked up their second win of the season. World Cup winning winger Makazole Mapimpi is still yet to feature for the side but the Hurricanes still managed to run in five tries to the Rockets two.

Former Welsh international Owen Williams missed the first opportunity to put points on the board from the tee but hooker Hiroaki Ushihara made no mistake as the Hurricanes' pack surged their way over the line in the 10th minute. At set move at the lineout saw Jack Lam sprint through the defence give the Rockets their first score of the game after 16 minutes. A barnstorming run from inside centre Samisoni Tua set up the Hurricanes' second try as he sent Rockets winger Teruya Goto flying through the air. NTT recycled the ball through a few phases before TJ Perenara dabbed a deft grubber kick through for Kanta Yamamoto to score. The conversion saw NTT lead 17-5 at half time. 

Ben Saunders ran onto a TJ Perenara bullet pass to make it 24-56 after 48 minutes before NEC threatened with a comeback. A poor pass from a 5 metre scrum put Masaki Kobayashi under tremendous pressure. Rockets flanker Ryoi Kamei made the most of this opportunity ripping the ball from the wingers grasps and scoring in the corner. Alex Goode added the extras from out wide before NEC drew within a converted try of the Hurricanes with Yo Sato going over from a driving maul. 

Perenara would then seal the result for the Hurricanes scoring two late tries, the first came from a lineout NEC picked off of the Hurricanes but with the ball loose, Perenara plucked it with one hand and ran in the try from about 35 metres. Saunders assisted Perenara's second try as he produced a wonderful offload to send the scrumhalf in for the final try in the 71st minute.

Munakata Sanix Blues 23-30 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara DynaBoars

 Man of the match:  Colin Slade

Mitsubishi bounced from their 7-75 loss to Suntory in round one to register their first win over the season in round two with Colin Slade masterminding the win over Sanix Blues. Colin Slade and Kosei Ono traded early penalties before Matt Vaega scored in the 20th minute with Colin Slade chipping the ball over the top of the defence with Vaega timing his run perfectly to score. Ono slotted a penalty either side of a Slade penalty before the half-hour mark before Sanix finished the half brightly to lead 21-13. Tighthead prop Paddy Ryan produced a nice offload to Lamano Lemeki, who scored in the 35th minute, before another nice offload this time from flyhalf Koesi Ono saw Tim Bennetts slice through the defence for the second try before the break. 

It took 15 minutes for the first score of the second half as Colin Slade closed the gap to seven points with a penalty and the former All Black was at the heart of his side's first try of the second half as he chipped and regathered the ball from his own 10 metre line before offloading to his hooker who sent Vaega in for his second try of the game. Slade's conversion levelled the scores at 23 apiece. 

The 33-year-old set up the final try as he chipped the ball over the Sanix try line with winger Keita Sekimoto reading the kick perfectly to score the winner. 

Yamaha Jubilo 22-23 Ricoh Black Rams

 Man of the match:  Matt Lucas

Ricoh managed to keep Yamaha at bay in the latter stages of their clash at Hanazono Rugby Stadium to claim a 22-23 victory, their first win of the season. 

Kwagga Smith set up a tense finish as he was sent through a gap in the 75th minute to score a try that Sam Greene converted to bring Yamaha within a point of Ricoh. Greene looked to spark the match winning score in the final knockings of the game but he was wrapped up by Phiva Lotoahea with his namesake Amanaki winning the penalty on the ground to close out the game. 

Ricoh shot out to a 0-16 lead in the opening 22 minutes of the game with Matt Lucas converting a well taken Main Taira try as well as three penalties. Yamaha got on the board just before half time with Greene slotting a penalty. Ricoh's final contribution to the scoreboard came in the 50th minute as Hinata Takei came up with the ball over the line from a powerful driving maul with Lucas converting the try from out wide.

Yamaha started the comeback with Malo Tuitama running a neat line off of scrumhalf Yuki Yatomi to dot down under the posts. The winger was over the line once again as Greene weighted a pinpoint cross kick perfectly for the winger to score in the corner. Kwagga Smith's try gave Yamaha a chance of claiming a memorable comeback but the Ricoh defence was strong enough to hold them out. 

NTT Communications Shining Arcs 29-47 Toyota Verblitz

 Man of the match:  Taiche Takahashi

Toyota Verblitz claimed their second victory in as many weeks beating the Shining Arcs 47-29. Lionel Cronje and Greg Laidlaw traded penalties in the opening 10 minutes of the game before a nice skip pass from Springbok Willie Le Roux saw Taichi Takahashi score the opening try in the 12th minute. Cronje added another penalty before Rob Thompson extended Verblitz's lead to 15 points. Laidlaw through a great skip ball out to winger Kai Ishii who had an easy run in for NTT's first try but it was Verblitz who would have the final say of the half with Hikosaka scoring in the 37th minute.

With Verblitz attacking in the Arcs' 22, Yongheung Chang picked off a Lionel Cronje pass to sprint across the pitch and score the first points of the second half. Jamie Henry scored his second try of the season as he sprinted down the touchline following some excellent hands from Le Roux and Cronje. Joji Sato made it 15-35 after 57 minutes before Willie Britz cancelled Sato's try out with one of his own. Quick hands from Fletcher Smith saw Michael Toloke score with 11 minutes to go but Verblitz finished stronger scoring two tries in the final seven minutes of the game. 

Panasonic Wild Knights 60-12 Hino Red Dolphins

 Man of the match:  Takuya Yamasawa

Panasonic claimed a massive 48 point victory over the Red Dolphins scoring 9 tries. Ash Parker and Norifumi Hashimoto managed to grab tries for the Dolphins who were well and truly dominated through out. 

Centre Dylan Riley chased a kick brilliantly to offload to Semisi Tupou for the opening try of the game six minutes in and it didn't take long for Panasonic to score their second as Koki Takeyama dived over in the corner after a nice move following a lineout drive. The Dolphins pack surged over the line in the 38th minute with Takuya Yamasawa ensuring Panasonic had a 10 point buffer at halftime slotting a conversion. Dylan Riley was on hand to assist another try as the Dolphins failed to field a kick, the centre threw the ball out to Takeyama who spend over 60 metres to score.

Yamasawa scored an excellent solo try with a step and chip over the top and he was in again just three minutes later as he followed a break well and sped over halfway after receiving a pass from Takeyama. Shota Horie came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet before second rower Ryota Hasegawa added one of his own. Hashimoto powered his way over the line in the 72nd minute before two late tries saw Panasonic notch up 60 points. 

Honda Heat 14-31 Suntory Sungoliath

 Man of the match: Naoto Saito

After a yellow card to Matt Duffie in the 19th minute, Suntory went to work with Samu Kerevi fending off his opposite number to score the opening try of the game. The floodgates opened from there for Suntory as scrumhalf and man of the match Naoto Saito going in for a try in the 24th minute after a great break and offload from Tevita Li. Beauden Barrett threw a superb skip pass out to Shota Emi just before half time as the Suntory led 3-19 at the break.

Paku Songi slotted two penalties to close the gap to 10 points for Honda but Saito stretched the led to 15 as he threw a dummy off the back of a rolling maul to score. Each side got over the tryline with rolling mauls in the final 10 minutes of the game as Suntory claimed the victory. 

Kobe Kobelco Steelers 73-10 Canon Eagles

 Man of the match: Taumua Naeata

11 tries and 9 conversions saw Kobe Steelers claim an emphatic victory over Canon. Eighth man Taumua Naeata was named man of the match from the clash in a game where he scored five tries! Kobe impressed with ball in hand last week but this week they showed that they can mix it up in the pack too with Naeata's first two tries coming from a rolling maul in the opening twenty minutes. Tom Franklin added another try in the 30th minute before scrumhalf Kenta Tokuda finished off a stunning long-range try. With a comfortable 28-3 lead at half time, Kobe came out firing in the second half as Brodie Retallick throwing a dummy before sending Naeata away with the no.8 running in his try from 40 metres out. 

Brodie Retallick and Ben Smith combined in their own 22 with the latter putting Hayden Parker into space for the pivot's try in the 52nd minute before Retallick scored a try of his own just six minutes later.  Fullback SP Marais was put into space by flyhalf Jumpei Ogura to score the Canon's only try of the game in the 61st minute. 

Shinsuke Iseki added his name to the scoresheet with Taumua Naeata scoring his fourth and fifth before Ben Smith sent a pinpoint cross-kick out to Tom Franklin who scored the final try of the game. 

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