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Bok lock continues try-scoring form in Japan

ROUND EIGHT WRAP: Springbok lock Lood de Jager continued his try-scoring form in Japan.

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The Wild Knights easily beat the Blue Revs 45-19 in Japan Rugby League One, with De Jager scoring two tries.

The Blue Revs got off to a great start when inform wing Malo Tuitama scored the sixth and seventh tries of his last three games, but their 12-7 lead after 25 minutes was overhauled before half-time.

De Jager’s first try tied the scores and was added to by scrumhalf Taiki Koyama and centre Dylan Riley, the latter’s eighth for the season, to push the visitors out to a 26-12 advantage, which was extended in the second period to ensure they headed back to Saitama with a maximum point return from the trip.

Quade Cooper scored his first try of the campaign, but it wasn’t enough for the Liners to claim their first win of the season as Brave Lupus grabbed 19 points in the final 11 minutes to finally shrug off the
Wallaby flyhalf’s gallant side.

Meanwhile, reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Ardie Savea showed his class, scoring four tries as former Wallaby coach Dave Rennie enjoyed his finest moment in Japan after the Steelers crushed Verblitz 57-22 in Osaka.

The 30-year-old All Black loose forward, who had scored three tries from seven appearances in Japan Rugby League One prior to Sunday, scored two tries in each half as the Steelers ran amok in a one-sided second half, pulling away from a 15-12 half-time lead to score emphatically.

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Former Super Rugby flyhalf Bryn Gatland also played a starring role, complementing Savea’s effort with a 27-point haul, which included two tries, to lift the 28-year-old to the top of the individual point standings for the season at its halfway stage.

The son of Wales coach Warren Gatland became the competition’s first centurion, advancing his tally to 109 points, 11 clear of the incumbent Brave Blossoms flyhalf Rikiya Matsuda (99), with All Black flyhalf Richie Mo’unga third on 89.

The disastrous second 40-minutes, where Steve Hansen’s men conceded points at a rate of more than a point a minute, saw Verblitz tumble from fifth to seventh on the point’s table, while also seeing flyhalf Beauden Barrett and scrumhalf Aaron Smith concede the bragging rights to their All Black teammates Savea, Ngane Laumape and Brodie Retallick in the Steelers line-up.

Sunday’s victory, achieved with a bonus point by scoring eight tries, propelled Rennie’s side back into the top four after the Steelers had fallen off the pace while suffering consecutive defeats against Brave Lupus, Sungoliath and Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay.

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The latter lost their place among the semifinal positions after being upset 28-34 by a resurgent Sagamihara Dynaboars, who scored the match-sealing try by wing Ben Paltridge with seven minutes remaining after the two sides had traded blows throughout an even contest where the lead changed hands four times.

The 31-year-old Paltridge, who was born in Thailand but educated in New Zealand, scored two tries for the second week in a row, after bagging a double during last week’s win over the Blue Revs.

The Dynaboars’ fourth win of the campaign lifted them above the Blue Revs into eighth while the defending champions, who had finally worked their way up to fourth on the table after a false start to the season, promptly dropped out of the top four again, falling back to sixth.

The Liners had battled back from a nine-point half-time deficit to lead by one before three late tries saw Brave Lupus home 50-32.

Two of those were scored by the 27-year-old Brave Lupus wing Masaki Hamada, whose 24-year-old brother Mamoru, the hooker, scored twice in the first half.

All Black centre Seta Tamanivalu also crossed the line twice for Brave Lupus, while exciting Brave Blossoms lock Warner Dearns and wing Taiki Matsunobu got the other tries.

Liners loose forward Jose Seru was the fourth of the game’s multiple try-scorers.

It rained tries at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday as Sungoliath ran in nine to swamp Black Rams Tokyo 62-0.

Sungoliath captain Kosuke Horikoshi grabbed himself a hat-trick, lifting the hooker’s tally for the season to eight, just
one behind the league leading Tuitama.

Brave Blossoms wing Kotaro Matsushima scored twice as the maximum points cemented Sungoliath’s position in third on the competition ladder, while leaving the Black Rams languishing in the relegation zone, nine points behind ninth-placed Shizuoka.

The Eagles jumped two places to fifth after a comfortable 50-21 win on Friday, despite a second half rally from the Heat, who scored three tries after having trailed 0-26 at half-time.

Former Super Rugby lock Max Douglas, who once appeared for the Waratahs, scored two of the Eagles’ seven tries.

Japan Rugby League One Round Eight Results:

Division One

Friday, March 1:
Eagles 50-21 Heat

Saturday, March 2:
Brave Lupus Tokyo 50-32 Liners
Wild Knights 45-19 Blue Revs
Sungoliath 62-0 Black Rams

Sunday, March 3:
Sagamihara Dynaboars 34-28 Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay
Steelers 57-22 Verblitz

Division Two

Saturday, March 2:
Aichi 15-10 Voltex

Sunday, March 3:
D-Rocks 31-12 Red Hurricanes Osaka
Green Rockets’ match with Japan Steel Kamaishi Seawaves was cancelled.

Saturday, March 2:
Blue Sharks 40-27 Hiroshima
Red Dolphins 62-29 Red Regulions

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