Yamaha Jubilo are the new leaders in the Top League following their bonus-point 43-10 victory away to Munakata Sanix Blues. Gerhard van den Heever scored 16 of Yamaha’s points, scoring the side’s third try of the game and successful with five of his six kicks.
Further tries from Male Sa’u, Viliami Tahitua (2), Duke Krishnan and Takeshi Hino, the hooker’s third in his last two TL games, inflicted Sanix’s first defeat of the season. Australian winger Andrew Everingham, who notched a hat-trick of tries last weekend for Munakata, crossed for the Kyushu club’s only try of the game.
Toyota Verblitz sit in second only by the virtue of point difference after Ben Lucas converted Yuki Kido’s 83rd-minute try, making it three wins from three for the Aichi prefecture club as they saw off Honda 32-30 in Suzuka. Digby Ioane ran in a brace of tries for Honda, who are still searching for their first win of the season.
A below-par Suntory performance was just about enough to see off Ricoh 23-17 in Tokyo on Saturday evening, having trailed 14-13 at the break. Suntory are one of four sides to have won all three games this season, along with Yamaha, Verblitz and Toshiba.
Suntory’s local rivals, Toshiba, also came from behind to grind out a third win. Scrum-half Takahiro Ogawa kicked a 79th-minute penalty to record a somewhat unconvincing 21-19 win over Canon Eagles at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
Berrick Barnes shone again for Panasonic in their 32-20 win away to Kintetsu Liners, while Springbok Grant Hattingh inspired Kubota to a hard-fought first season victory against Toyota Shuttles, coming from behind to prevail 24-22 in Tokyo.
Bottom club Coca-Cola seemingly have a long season ahead after a 48-7 defeat to Kobelco Steelers in Ishikawa. Rakuhei Yamashita, whose namesake Hiroshi made his 100th Top League appearance in the same game, scored three tries for Kobelco.
Jumpei Ogura’s boot was the different between NTT Com and NEC on Friday evening as the 24-year-old fly half kicked 18 points from a possible 18 to hand his side their second win on the spin and leave NEC still without a victory in the Top League this season.