Springboks Malcolm Marx and Kwagga Smith both continued their excellent form in the third round of the Japanese Top League this weekend.
– Fullback Coenie van Wyk starred as the Toshiba Brave Lupus claimed a 32-23 away win against the Honda Heat. Van Wyk scored a first-half hat-trick and kicked two conversions for a personal haul of 19 points. Despite appearing for the losing side, RG Snyman put in a good performance which included another incredible linebreak in the buildup to one of the Heat’s tries. Paul Schoeman was also in action for the Heat, who are in eighth place after losing their last two matches. Toshiba are in third place and among the three sides remaining with unbeaten starts to the season.
– Australian flyhalf Bernard Foley scored a self-converted try two minutes from full time to give the Kubota Spears a 28-27 win over the Shining Arcs. Fullback Gerhard van den Heever was among the try-scorers as the Spears raced into a 21-0 lead in the first half. However, the Arcs hit back just before half time to make 21-7 and continued their momentum in the second half, with Malcolm Marx grabbing a brace of tries to help them to a 27-21 lead. Also playing were lock Ruan Botha and flank Pieter Labuschagne, who both started for the Spears, while Sylvian Mahuza was at fullback for the Arcs. The win had the Spears climb into seventh place, while the Arcs are 11th after two successive losses.
– The Sanix Blues claimed their second win of the new campaign by convincingly beating the Red Hurricanes 49-19. The game was significant as it gave Argentina fullback Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias his Blues’ debut to become just the second Argentinian to play in the Top League. The only South African involved in the clash was veteran back Riaan Viljoen, who came off the bench and scored a consolation try in the 76th minute for the Hurricanes.
– The Wild Knights stayed top of the table after continuing their unbeaten start by hammering the Mitsubishi Dynaboars 62-10. Bok centre Damian de Allende was among the high-profile names who started for the Knights, who also had former Wallabies flank David Pocock in their lineup, with Sam Whitelock on the bench. The Knights, coached by Robbie Deans, took the lead after just six minutes through Pocock’s try and never looked back, going 29-3 ahead at half time. The Dynaboars are bottom of the table, having not won any of their opening three fixtures.
– Kwagga Smith continued an excellent start to the season with his third try in as many games, helping Yamaha Jubilo beat the Black Rams 38-0. Smith, who scored in the loss against Kobe Steel and win over Toyota Verblitz, got on the scoresheet once again with a try just before the break. The win moved Jubilo into fifth place on the log, while the Black Rams are 14th with one win from their three games.
– Willie le Roux scored and created a try during Toyota Verblitz’s 61-31 win against the Hino Red Dolphins. The Springbok fullback ran in a well-taken intercept try in the first half, before directly assisting another with a perfectly placed cross-field chip. Flyhalf Lionel Cronje kicked seven conversions for a haul of 14 points, taking him up to fifth on the overall points-scorers list. Jason Jenkins and Carl Wegner formed an all-South African lock pairing for Verblitz, who claimed their first win of the season to climb to ninth on the table.
– Kobe Steel moved into second place with a third successive win after beating Suntory Sungoliath 35-29. Former All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter put in another brilliant performance for Kobe, kicking three penalties and three conversions for a haul of 15 points, keeping the World Cup winner on top of the tournament’s scorers list with 44. Kotaro Matsushima started at fullback for Sungoliath, who are in 10th place.
– The Canon Eagles, coached by Allister Coetzee, claimed their second win of the season with a 38-12 victory over the Green Rockets. Springbok centre Jesse Kriel was in the Eagles’ starting lineup alongside No 8 Kobus van Dyk and lock Rynier Bernardo, while fullback SP Marais scored one of their five tries.