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Rohan on the scoresheet again in Japan

ROUND 10 WRAP: Mie Heat has given former Italy coach Kieran Crowley his maiden win in Japan Rugby League One after a courageous 20-19 victory over fellow winless side, Hanazono Liners, in Osaka.

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Crowley’s men prevailed to gain their first win of the season despite being the third side of the weekend to suffer a red card offense, when scrumhalf Takuro Hojo was dismissed at the half an hour mark for dangerous play.

While this year’s newly promoted side were ahead 14-5 at the time, having opened the scoring with Wallaby fullback Tom Banks’ second try of the campaign, Heat was forced to draw on all their resilience throughout the final 50 minutes of the contest, eventually getting the result despite some late nerves when Hanazono hooker
Kazuma Matsuda scored with one minute remaining.

The win, achieved against a Liners outfit that fielded the Wallabies Quade Cooper and Will Genia, lifted Heat off the bottom of the point’s table, leaving their rivals as the only club across the three sections of the competition that has yet to win a game.

At the other end of the point’s table, second-placed Brave Lupus Tokyo put the disappointment of last week’s first defeat of the campaign at Kumagaya behind them, despatching of Sagamihara Dynaboars 41-19 to continue their advance towards semi-final qualification.

Todd Blackadder’s men out-scored the Dynaboars seven-tries-to-three, with the result rarely in doubt after Brave Lupus breezed to a 24-0 lead from the first 26 minutes of the contest.

After a three-match stretch without a try, All Black Shannon Frizell was back on the scoresheet, picking up his seventh of the season, before Dynaboars self-destructed in the second half when it conceded two yellow cards at the same time.

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Robbie Deans won the battle of the two former Wallaby coaches at Kobe’s Universiade Memorial Stadium, with the Wild Knights seeing off Kobelco, prepared by one of his successors in the Wallaby job, Dave Rennie.

The Wild Knights overturned an 18-14 deficit early in the second half to score their 10th win, posting the final two tries of Saturday’s contest to finish with a 28-18 victory.

There were two yellow cards for dangerous play within two minutes of each other in the opening period; Saitama’s former Hurricanes Mark Abbott being followed to the sidelines by Kobe’s Michael Little, with each side adding a penalty goal while their players were absent.

Friday night saw 14-man Kubota Spears breathe new life into their campaign after a frantic three-point win over the Eagles from a thrilling contest in downtown Tokyo.

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The Eagles led 26-15 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium with just four minutes remaining, but the yellow card awarded against Kobus van Dyk for repeated infringements proved ruinous as the defending champions conjured up a miracle by scoring two tries in the final three minutes to manufacture a dramatic 29-26 win.

South Africans were try-scorers for both sides, with starting hooker Schalk Erasmus scoring the second of the Spears’ four tries from a lineout drive, while Yokohama’s recently arrived Springbok midfield back Rohan Janse van Rensburg won the race to a chip in behind by veteran flyhalf Yu Yamura to post his second try from four appearances in the league.

The win allowed Kubota to leap-frog Verblitz on the championship table after the latter was felled 39-38 by Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath in an even more dramatic finish at Aichi on Saturday.

Verblitz had seemed on course for a comfortable win over their third-placed rivals thanks to two tries by All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith, who backed up breaks by centre Siosaia Fifita and fullback Taichi Takahashi respectively.

The double helped propel the home side to a 31-10 lead in the early stages of the second period, but a 21-point advantage, that should have proved decisive, wasn’t.

For the second time in three weeks, Verblitz dramatically lost their way, conceding 29 points in the game’s final 29 minutes, after having leaked 42 at over a point a minute during the second half of their loss to Kobe.

The fightback was led by Suntory hooker and captain Kosuke Horikoshi, who plunged over from a well worked lineout drive for his ninth try of the season.

This score was added to five minutes later by the impressive former Reds Harry Hockings, who popped up on the wing to pull in a pin-point wide pass from the man usually stationed there, winger Seiya Ozaki.

Steve Hansen’s men are now only four points ahead of Blue Revs, who snapped a three-game losing streak by accounting for Black Rams 36-29.

Shizuoka was helped to the win by another try-scoring double from the season’s leading try-scorer, Malo Tuitama.

The 27-year-old’s tries took his tally for the season to 12, two ahead of Takahashi of Verblitz, while bookending an entertaining contest which the Blue Revs never looked like losing, even though the Black Rams kept themselves within striking distance throughout.

Round 11 Results

Friday, March 15
Kubota Spears  29, Eagles 26; at Tokyo

Saturday, March 16
Blue Revs 36, Black Rams Tokyo 29; at Tokyo
Sungoliath 39, Verblitz 38; at Aichi
Wild Knights 28, Kobelco 18; at Hyogo

Sunday, March 17
Mie Heat 20, Hanazono Kintetsu Liners 19; at Osaka
Brave Lupus Tokyo 41, Sagamihara Dynaboars 19; at Tokyo

Division Two
Sunday, March 17
Urayasu D-Rocks 19, Aichi 14; at Aichi
Green Rockets 63, Seawaves 26; at Iwate

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