All change as Toshiba go top

Mose Tuiali’i and Yamaha Jubilo went third in the Top League standings following a physical encounter with Canon Eagles

As winter starts to settle in in Japan, it was all change at the top of the Top League following the second round of action in the second stage. Toshiba Brave Lupus beat a badly misfiring Panasonic Wild Knights 33-13 at Komazawa Olympic Park on Saturday to jump above the reigning champions and head the standings. Toshiaki Hirose, who had a standout game at flyhalf, Shuhei Oshima and Hiroki Yuhara all touched down for the Brave Lupus, but it was Francois Steyn's big right foot that did most … [Read more...]

TL 2nd Stage Kicks Off

Panasonic Wild Knights made sure Seiichi Shimomura celebrated his 100th Top League game with a win.
Photo by Kenji Demura (RJP)

    The second stage – or business end – of the 2014-15 Top League season kicked off this weekend with the old and the young featuring prominently at the top end of the standings. Former Panasonic Wild Knights captain 33-year-old Seiichi Shimomura marked his 100th Top League game as the reigning champions went top of the standings, while 21-year-old Kotaro Matsushima scored his first Top League try as Suntory Sungoliath finished the opening round of games in third … [Read more...]

Loamanu Has JRFU Ban Lifted

Ruby New Japan

Former Toshiba Brave Lupus wing Christian Loamanu is free to resume his international career for Japan after an indefinite ban to play for the Brave Blossoms was lifted by the Japan Rugby Football Union on Thursday. The 28 year old – currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership –  tested positive for marijuana following a Top League game in January 2009, and having fallen foul of the JRFU once before, was handed the unprecedented ban. Tonga-born Loamanu made his debut … [Read more...]

Japan Lose to Georgia 35-24

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Japan's unbeaten run in test matches came to an end Sunday in Tbilisi as they were overpowered 35-24 by Georgia. Hopes of an unbeaten 2014 vanished as the Brave Blossoms pack wilted badly, earning the wrath of referee Romain Poite early on. The Frenchman eventually sent two Japan forwards to the bin, making it a difficult task nigh on impossible, so to an extent it wasn't a bad effort to stay within 11 points. Particularly as the side that started the game at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium was … [Read more...]

Tokyo Ex-pat Clubs Remember a Mate

2014 MacFadyen Cup at the YC&AC

Two of the ex-pat rugby sides in Tokyo, the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club -- the club that introduced rugby to Japan in the 1860s – and the Tokyo Crusaders, played one another for the MacFadyen Cup at the YC&AC’s ground in Yamate on Saturday. The game is played in honour of Gareth MacFadyen, who died in December 2000 as a result of burns inflicted during a Christmas party in Auckland. Ironically he was also celebrating the fact that his employers, Merrill Lynch, were sending him back … [Read more...]

Japan Formally Accepted in Super Rugby

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Japan's entry into Super Rugby from 2016 is “a dream come true,” according to head coach Eddie Jones. Speaking from Tbilisi where the Brave Blossoms are preparing to take on Georgia on Sunday, Jones said “Winning the Super Rugby bid is a great vote of confidence from the SANZAR group and we are very appreciative of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa support.” Jones has long said that despite the huge improvements made in the Top League, Japanese players still struggled to bridge the … [Read more...]