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Foley's try in vain as Tokyo Bay go down to Lupus

WRAP: A try-scoring return by Wallaby Bernard Foley was not enough to keep the semifinal light flickering for Kubota Spear Tokyo Bay, who fell to their seventh loss of the season in a dramatic 20-22 defeat by Brave Lupus Tokyo in Japan’s top tier rugby competition.


Brave Lupus won thanks to an injury time conversion by All Black flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, after Spears’ flank Pieter ‘Lappies’ Labuschagne had been yellow carded for a professional foul moments before former All Black and Crusaders centre Seta Tamanivalu scored in the 80th minute to tie the scores.

The Spears had never trailed prior to Mo’unga’s final kick of the afternoon.

Foley, who scored 173 points and was the league’s top-scorer in last year’s title run, hadn’t appeared since Christmas Eve.

But while his absence has undeniably contributed to the defending champions’ season unraveling, the 34-year-old’s presence failed to prevent his side from falling 11 points behind fourth-placed Yokohama Eagles with four matches to play.

In the afternoon’s other game, Foley’s former Wallaby coach Dave Rennie also suffered defeat, as Tokyo Sungoliath inflicted a major blow on Kobe Steelers’ semifinal hopes with a 36-27 win in Hygo.

Kobe, who face second-placed Brave Lupus next week, has dropped four points behind the Eagles after an error-ridden performance that included yellow cards for All Black lock Brodie Retallick and his countryman Tiennan Costley.


Another former Wallaby coach, Robbie Deans, enjoyed a better day as the unbeaten Wild Knights became the first side to confirm their semifinal presence following a comfortable 53-12 win over the Sagamihara Dynaboars.

Led by try-scoring doubles from Wallaby wing Marika Koroibete – just his third and fourth tries of the season – and the Brave Blossoms’ Dylan Riley, the Wild Knights surpassed a half-century of points for the third time in four meetings with the Dynaboars, who conceded a staggering 33 tries across those matches.

Four of those have been scored by another Aussie product, Brave Blossoms’ Jack Cornelsen, who touched down in each game.

In Saturday’s other action, All Black and Verblitz scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored, while Wallaby and Hanazono Liners flyhalf Quade Cooper was sin-binned, as Verblitz prevailed 47-30.


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