Panasonic and Kobelco secure routine wins - Yamaha and Toshiba also through to Lixil Cup semi-finals
The first weekend of the 2016 Lixil Cup, the play-off tournament to determine the overall champion of this season’s Top League, passed by without any upsets or shocks. At the quarterfinal stage, each of the four teams who finished in either first or second of their regular season league, all progressed to the semi-finals.
Panasonic Wild Knights comfortably dispatched Canon Eagles 46-6, while Kobelco Steelers produced a similarly dominating performance to see off Kintetsu Liners 42-10 to set up a semi-final encounter with Panasonic.
Yamaha Jubilo no.8 Horie Kyosuke scored a brace of tries as his team secured a 26-7 victory over NTT Shining Arcs and therefore their place in the final four against Toshiba Brave Lupus, who ran out 29-17 winners in a hard-fought game against Toyota Verblitz.
Youth was the key to success for Panasonic on Saturday afternoon as they cruised to a 46-6 win over Canon Eagles, with 25-year-old New Zealand-born Hayden Parker kicking 28 points and boasting a 100% conversion rate in a superb fly half performance. 23-year-old Kentaro Kodama ran in a try in either half at Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama.
Paloma Mizuho Stadium in Nagoya was the base for two of the four Lixil Cup quarterfinal ties and fans were treated to a try-fest in the first of the two matches as Kobelco Steelers scored an impressive five first-half tries to put the game to bed in the first 40 minutes and ultimately secure their semi-final spot. Centre Yoshikazu Ohashi was on target for two of the Steelers’ seven tries in the game.
In the afternoon game in Nagoya, a late penalty try for Toshiba Brave Lupus eventually put them out of sight against Toyota Verblitz, who had cut their 12-point lead to just five points in the second half to set up a pulsating final 15 minutes.
Yamaha Jubilo had Horie Kyosuke to thank for their quarterfinal win against NTT Shining Arcs. The 25-year-old, who has been capped by the Japan national side on two occasions, scored a 43rd-minute first-half try to ensure Yamaha went into the break level at 7-7. A further try from Kyosuke four minutes into the second half, coupled with a Male Sa'u try and late penalty try ensured Jubilo's progression to the semi-final stage of this season’s Lixil Cup.