Sunwolves Dream Team

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By Lee Watkins Despite the Sunwolves losing all of their matches this season due to player injuries, withdrawals, and mistakes on the pitch, there has also been enough promise in their performances to warrant some optimism. We sat down with the Kyodo news journalist, Rich Freeman, and came up with our Top 15 Sunwolves’ players based on the 56 men they have at their disposal. 15. (Fullback) Shota Emi or Kotaro Matsushima Lee: “Judging on performances this season and judging on the … [Read more...]

Positive Signs from Sunwolves


The Sunwolves may have lost their third straight game in this year's Super Rugby competition but it was a much improved performance from Filo Tiatia's team against the Cheetahs. Here are highlights of the game. Here is Kyodo News' take. One of South Africa's top rugby journos, Brenden Nel, was at the press conference and kindly allowed us to use these … [Read more...]

Tough Start for Sunwolves


(photos provided by Inside Sport Japan) The Sunwolves have endured a tough start to their second season. Following a less than impressive warm-up game against the Top League All-Stars, the Sunwolves were hammered by defending champions the Hurricanes in their season opener. They then travelled to Singapore where they were beaten by the Kings. Kyodo News was there to cover all the action and Inside Sports Japan were there to take some photos at … [Read more...]

Sunwolves Preview 2017


Rugby News Japan wrote the following Sunwolves preview for Inside Sports Japan.  Photos from Inside Sports Japan. The Sunwolves kick off their second season of Super Rugby on Saturday with a home game against the defending champions from New Zealand, the Hurricanes. Japan's Super Rugby side approach the new semester with a new head coach, a much bigger squad and a belief they can do better than their debut season on the competition when they finished with one win, one draw and 13 … [Read more...]

Ask Rich


By Lee Watkins In our first episode of “Ask Rich” we talk to the Kyodo News journalist, Rich Freeman, about salaries, international eligibility and other peculiarities surrounding rugby in Japan. If you want to listen to the full “Ask Rich” episode, please listen to the JRugby Podcast on SoundCloud or i-Tunes. Q:  If a Japanese player plays all the games in the Top League, Super Rugby and international matches, how many weeks per year would the player get off? Rich: Probably about a … [Read more...]

Suntory Complete League and Cup Double

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(Photos by John Gunning of Inside Sport Japan) The Japanese domestic season drew to a close last weekend with Suntory Sungoliath achieving the league and cup double. However the game was not without controversy. Kyodo News also produced a wrap of the promotion/relegation games. The make-up of the Top League for 2017-18 was … [Read more...]

Top League Wrap Week 15

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The 2016-17 Top League reached its conclusion with Suntory Sungoliath crowned champions following an action packed final weekend. The day after, Takaaki Nakazuru was surprisingly named league MVP ahead of Kosei Ono, who had an outstanding season for Suntory. NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes were promoted (to replace Honda Heat) while the three other places in the Top League and new … [Read more...]

Top League Wrap Week 14

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  Things got a lot clearer in the Top League following Round 14 action. At the top, Suntory remained unbeaten and need two points from their final game to secure their 4th league title. Yamaha still have a chance of bagging their first title if Suntory slip up, while Panasonic booked their spot in the All-Japan Championship. At the bottom, Honda were relegated, while Coca-Cola, Toyota Shokki and Kintetsu Liners will play in the promotion/relegation playoffs. Round 14 … [Read more...]

Panasonic Wild Knights with Taqele Naiyaravoro

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By Lee Watkins After switching from rugby league to rugby union in 2014, the Fijian, Taqele Naiyaravoro’s career has been swift; playing for Glasgow Warriors and entertaining the idea of representing Scotland, before rejoining the Waratahs, and choosing to play for Australia instead. Since then he has scored his first try for the Wallabies against England, put in a man of the match performance for the Barbarians against South Africa, and has even been likened to the late Jonah Lomu due to his … [Read more...]

Top League Wrap Week 13

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Suntory are in pole position for the Top League title after they beat Yamaha on Xmas Eve. At the other end of the table it looks more like Honda Heat will finish in the automatic relegation spot. Round 13 Results Canon 27 Kubota 15 Ricoh 41 Toyota Shuttles 14 NEC 27 Coca-Cola 3 Panasonic 55 Sanix 14 NTT Comms 40 Honda 3 Suntory 41 Yamaha 24 Toshiba 32 Toyota Verblitz 31 Kobe Steel 38 Kintetsu 8 Here are the … [Read more...]