Barnes kicks Wild Knights to victory

Fourie du Preez's Suntory Sungoliath were unable to defend their Top League title, as Berrick Barnes helped Panasonic Wild Knights to a 45-22 win.

The opening try of the game came from Akihito Yamada, but Suntory hit back immediately through Shinya Makabe with Ryan Nicholas adding the extras.

Fourie du Preez made his impact felt as he went over for a try himself, beating former Wallabies flyhalf Barnes in the process, to make it 12-7 to Suntory.

Despite the defensive lapse, Barnes slotted eight penalties and added two conversions.

The former Waratah also played a pivotal role in the Wild Knights' running play, sliding through the defence and creating space for Yamada's second try.

JP Pietersen came off the bench in the 49th minute, and got immediately into the action by receiving the restart.

Ex-Wallabies flanker George Smith also had a strong game, putting in a big defensive effort for Suntory, but it was Barnes' constant onslaught of penalty shots that buried Suntory.

Photo: Kaori Matsumoto/Japan Rugby Magazine