Japan Rugby League One Round 7 Review

Japan Rugby League One Round 7 Review

A strong second half allowed Kobelco Kobe Steelers to bag back-to-back victories as round seven of Japan Rugby  League One was completed in Tokyo yesterday.

After three straight defeats, Kobe returned to the winner’s circle with a four-point win over Yokohama Canon  Eagles immediately prior to the break for The Cross Border Rugby, and they returned with a 17-point second half  to take care of a game Ricoh Black Rams 27-17 in Tokyo today. 

Tries by the internationals Ngane Laumape (Kobelco) and Nathan Hughes (Ricoh) had seen the game tied 10-10 at  the break, before Dave Rennie’s men asserted their dominance with a penalty try three minutes after the  resumption. 

Showing a level of tenacity that belied their ninth position after just one win, Ricoh fought back to close to 20-17  with 15 minutes to play, before winger Rakuhei Yamashita’s second try of the season two minutes later pushed  Kobe clear by 10 points, sealing the game. 

While the lack of a try-scoring bonus point denied the former Wallaby coaches’ men a spot in the top four, the  win moved Kobe two positions higher on the point’s table, ending the weekend sixth, but just one point outside  of the semi-final places. 

Twelve points from flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, including the second try of his Japan Rugby League One career, led  Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo to their seventh win of a thus far unbeaten campaign, after dispatching Yokohama  Canon Eagles 27-7. 

Brave Lupus were always in control, having they rocked the Eagles in the fourth minute when backrower  Takahashi Sasaki scored.

The visitors never recovered and were only spared the indignity of becoming the third side to be held scoreless  this season when Springbok midfielder Rohan Janse Van Rensburg marked his introduction to Japan Rugby League  One with a try in second half injury time. 

New Zealand-born midfielder Nicholas McCurran also scored in the first half as Brave Lupus established a 15-0  advantage at the midpoint, although it took Todd Blackadder’s men 19 minutes of the second half to add to that  total, when their star All Black recruit scored. 

A try-scoring bonus point was secured seven minutes from time to complete a rewarding afternoon for Toshiba,  after winger Atsuki Kuwayama posted their fourth try, which closed Brave Lupus to within a point of Saitama  Panasonic Wild Knights at the top of the Division One standings. 

The two are scheduled to meet on March 9. 

Defeat saw Yokohama drop two spots, with last year’s semi-finalists falling to seventh, two points outside of the  top four in a congested mid-table. 

Shizuoka Blue Revs missed the opportunity to take advantage of Yokohama’s loss, instead dropping two places  themselves after a high scoring 53-45 loss to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars. 

Blue Revs could have jumped into the top four had they won, but instead fell away in the second half after the  scores had been locked together 26-26 at halftime. 

Both sides scored seven tries, with the accuracy off the tee of the former Northampton flyhalf James Grayson  proving the point of difference for the Dynaboars. 

The 25-year-old scored two tries, as well as kicking eight goals from nine attempts to finish just his fifth  appearance in Japan Rugby League One with an impressive haul of 28 points, taking him to 74 for the season,  which ties Suntory’s Mikiya Takamoto for fourth on the individual point’s standings. 

Both Grayson’s tries came in the first half, with ex-Wallaby midfielder Curtis Rona also crossing, while Auckland educated winger Ben Paltridge (twice) and the former All Black backrower Jackson Hemopo were second half try scorers as Mitsubishi motored away with the game. 

Winger Malo Tuitama scored three tries for Shizuoka and hooker Takeshi Hino recorded his second try-scoring  double of the campaign, but their tries were in vain as the Blue Revs came up short by eight to be denied even a  bonus point for their afternoon’s work.

After scoring 20 tries across their two meetings last term, Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay cracked the  Hanazono Kintetsu Liners defence nine times yesterday, with the comfortable 56-19 win returning maximum  points to lift the defending champions to fourth on the standings. 

Any hope the home side had in the game was gone by halftime, having conceded two tries in the first 10 minutes,  and six in total in the first half, the end of which saw them trailing 39-0. 

Having been outclassed in the opening period, Kintetsu found the goal-line three times after the break to ‘win’  the second half 19-17, but the rally came too late to salvage anything from the game, leaving the Osaka-based  outfit winless and just a bonus point above bottom side Mie Honda Heat in the Division One standings. 

Japan Rugby League One Results Round Seven

Saturday February 24 

Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars 53, Shizuoka Blue Revs 45; at Sagamihara

Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo 27, Yokohama Canon Eagles 7; at Tokyo 

Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay 56, Hanazono Kintetsu Liners 19; at Osaka 

Sunday February 25 

Kobelco Kobe Steelers 27, Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo 17; at Tokyo

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