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

japan top league champions

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

japan rugby

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...]

Top League Round 12 Wrap Up

Japan Top league

  With three rounds to play in the Japan Rugby Top League, there is just 1 point between 1st and 2nd. And Japanese rugby fans get the perfect Xmas present with Yamaha Jubilo up against Suntory Suntory on Dec. 24 in a game that will almost certainly decide which team wins the league. Round 12 Results Toyota Shuttles 49 Honda 24 Suntory 37 Toyota Verblitz 24 Kubota 36 Coca-Cola 17 Canon 45 NEC 21 Yamaha 33 Kobe Steel 15 Toshiba 59 Kintetsu 12 NTT Comms 33 Sanix 7 Panasonic 45 … [Read more...]

Sunwolves Rising as One


The Sunwolves announced their squad for 2017 this week. RNJ guest writer Jay Collins gives a rundown of the players, while John Gunning from Inside Sport: Japan was there with his camera for us. Fumiaki Tanaka and Kotaro Mastushima join the Sunwolves this season in a new-look squad as they attempt to “Rise as one” to meet the tougher challenges of facing the formidable New Zealand sides in the next Super Rugby season. On paper this looks like a radically different Sunwolves team to the … [Read more...]

Kubota Spears with Alando Soakai

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  Kubota Spears win against the Ricoh Rams last weekend, 21-18, signalled a growing optimism around the Funabashi-based club and helped maintain a little distance between them and the relegation zone. After suffering from relegation in 2011, the current set of players and coaches are hoping to improve on their mid-table position and start climbing up the table. We spoke with the former Highlanders player and current Kubota Spears Forwards Coach, Alando Soakai, about his team’s … [Read more...]