Damian de Allende dotted down to help Panasonic continue their winning run as the Springboks in Japan took centre stage, with the Premiership and Top 14 on a short break.
Japan Top League
– Pieter-Steph du Toit scored a brace of tries, but Toyota Verblitz failed to fully capitalise in a 19-18 loss to Brave Lupus Tokyo. The visitors, who had Burger Odendaal at inside centre, led throughout but Verblitz were kept in the game by star Springbok du Toit, whose first two tries of the season ensured Brave Lupus couldn’t get away on his side. An injury time missed conversion ended up costing Verblitz victory. Willie le Roux was once again at flyhalf for the hosts.
— Darren (@SaffasRugby) March 18, 2023
– Shizuoka Blue Revs shrugged off the absence of captain Kwagga Smith to beat Black Rams 19-15 and edge away from the relegation zone as a result. After two draws, and a string of narrow losses, Shizuoka Blue Revs at last knocked off a side in the top six. Making the performance even more meritorious was that it was achieved without inspirational skipper Smith after the Springbok backrow was forced to miss the game due to injury.
– The inspiration of Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx, and a dominant physical display saw Kubota Spears overpower Yokohama Canon Eagles 15-5 in driving rain. The visitors were held scoreless until the 77th minute, fully illustrating the dominance that was exerted by the home side, who mastered the difficult conditions better than the Eagles did. Despite defending stoutly, the Eagles’ fortifications were finally breached two minutes before halftime, when hooker Marx rumbled across from a lineout drive that travelled over 20 metres. The try was the ninth of the season for the Springbok, who is the leading try-scorer among forwards in the league and third overall. South African second rower Ruan Botha also got on the scoresheet with a second-half try. Springboks Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel started for the Eagles.
– A 49-point first half blitz saw Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights sweep Mitsubishi Dynaboars aside to maintain their unbeaten record. Damian de Allende capitalised on some poor defence as the Wild Knights scored five tries between the sixth and 31st minute of the match. Lood de Jager was also in action for the league leaders, while Walt Steenkamp started for the Dynaboars, who dropped into the relegation zone.
— Darren (@SaffasRugby) March 19, 2023
Photo: Getty Images