RUGBY JERSEY -2022-23 League One Section 10:

Yokohama Canon Eagles VS Shizuoka Blue Revs

(Author: Azul, March 19, 2023)

The weather is turning spring-like in March, and from Friday 3 March until Friday 21 April, League One will be playing night matches. On this first night match (3 March), I went to Chichibunomiya Rugby Ground in Minato Ward, Tokyo, to watch the Yokohama Eagles vs Shizuoka Blue Revs match. Let’s have a look at the League One standings at the start of Section 10.

2022-23League One Order(Division 1)2023.3.3
1Saitama Wildnights90040195
2Kubota Spears80138184
3Tokyo Sungoliath81036151
4Yokohama Eagles62131153
5Tokyo Brave Lupas4502164
6Kobe Steelers45019-34
7Sagamihara Dynaboars35116-105
8Shizuoka Blue Revs26115-1
9Black Rams Tokyo36014-21
10Toyota Verblitz36014-76
11Green Rockets Tokatsu2709-158
12Hanazono Riners0901-352
WP=Winning Point
GD=Goal Difference

The Eagles, who play this day, are currently in fourth place, and the Blue Revs are currently in eighth place.

In the standings, you will notice that Blue Revs, who are in eighth place, have two wins, while Verblitz and Black Rams, who are in ninth and tenth place, have three wins but are higher in the standings. Blue Revs are an extremely tenacious team. They are a team with the ability to make the top teams suffer.

And the fans know it, with a crowd of 5,929 on the day.

Let’s take a look at the latest news from both teams.

First, let’s look at the Yokohama Canon Eagles, who are the home team on this day.

They are currently in fourth place and have secured a play-off place. Last season, they ran out of steam at the end of the season and missed out on the play-offs. This season, they have become more competitive and have played close matches against the top teams. However, there are still six games remaining, so we must not let up until the very end.

Today’s starting line-up is as follows.

Yokohama Eagles
1Takato OKABE180cm105kg28 
2Yusuke Niwai174cm95kg31Japan 10cap
3Tatsuro SUGIMOTO175cm110kg26 
4Max DOUGLAS201cm112kg22 
5Cory Hill196cm117kg31Wales 32cap
6Sioeli VAKALAHI178cm110kg24 
7Naoto Shimada181cm99kg31Japan
8Sione HARASILI180cm120kg23 
9Faf DEKLARK172cm88kg31South Africa 44cap
10Yu Tamura181cm92kg34Japan 70cap
11Masayoshi TAKEZAWA176cm86kg27 
12Yusuke Kajimura181cm95kg27Japan 2cap
13Jesse Kriel185cm95kg29South Africa 58cap
14Inoke BURUA178cm95kg23 
15Jumpei OGURA172cm80kg30Japan 4cap

**  Player to watch **

Faf DEKLARK. 172 cm, 88 kg, 31 years old. Position = SH. Caps for South Africa = 44. Commander of the South African national team, which was crowned world champions at RWC 2019. Continues to inspire the team with his combative style of play. He changes his passing path just before he gives the ball away, so opposing teams have to be prepared to defend against DEKLARK or they will get through his defensive net. He is a world-class player with a distinctive presence.

Next up are the visiting team of the day, the Shizuoka Blue Revs.

The Blue Revs are a strong team who were contenders for the top league title from 2014-2019. This season, they have dropped down to the bottom of the table, but have rarely suffered a complete defeat or a heavy defeat. They are always aggressive in their pursuit of victory and are a very worthwhile team for the team’s supporters to support.

Today’s starting line-up is as follows.

Shizuoka Blue Revs
1Kazuhiro KWADA172cm102kg26 
2Takeshi HINO172cm100kg32Japan 5cap
3Heiichiro ITO175cm115kg32 
4Samuera ANISE198cm118kg38Japan 12cap
5Murray DOUGLAS198cm115kg33 
6Malgene ILAUA187cm107kg29Japan 7cap
7Richard GOH JONES177cm93kg23 
8Kwagga SMITH180cm94kg29South Africa 29cap
9Bryn HALL183cm93kg30 
10Kenta IEMURA176cm93kg22 
11Chikara ITO173cm80kg32Japan 1cap
12Viliami TAHITUA183cm102kg31Tonga 9cap
13Hiroto KOBAYASHI173cm83kg30 
14Eito MAKI176cm88kg22 
15Keagen FARIA183cm85kg28 

** Players to watch **

Kwagga SMITH. 180 cm, 94 kg, 29 years old. Position = FL, No. 8; South Africa Cap = 29. Despite being 180 cm tall, he continues to be a regular player in the South African national team’s FW players, who are all big men over 2 m tall. The League One teams know that SMITH is unstoppable one-on-one, so they have a special defensive system for him, but he still manages to break through.

So, let the match begin.

As for the match conditions on this day, the temperature was 9 degrees Celsius and there was almost no wind. The cold, I didn’t feel so much.

3 minutes into the first half:

Blue Revs had a PG opportunity from an opponent’s infringement in front of the enemy goal posts, 20 metres away. Blue Revs’ SH HALL scored this without incident to make the score 0-3.

15 minutes into the first half:

The Eagles advanced their position inside their opponents’ right 22m line on a penalty kick following an infringement by their opponents. Here, the Eagles gradually made progress with a series of attacks, mainly from the flanks, and finally No.8 Harasiri scored a try in the middle of the enemy in-goal on the right. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the Eagles made the score 7-3.

29 minutes into the first half:

The Eagles had a PG opportunity in front of the enemy goal posts, 5 metres out, and Eagles SO Tamura converted to make the score 10-3.

35 minutes into the first half:

A Blue Revs infringement saw the Eagles advance deep into enemy territory on the right flank. Just beyond the enemy 22m line, from a my ball lineout on the right, a moderate mix of FW rushes and BK deployment saw the Eagles close in on the opposition in-goal. SH DEKLARK then stopped the opposition with a dummy pass and passed to SO TAMURA who looped around and scored a smooth, flowing try to the left centre without any pressure on TAMURA. The conversion goal after the try failed and the score, 15-3.

38 minutes into the first half:

Just as it looked like the first half was going to end, the Blue Revs made a big play to the delight of the entire crowd. Here, NO.8 SMITH, with the ball in his hands, overtook two of the opposition defenders and drove forward, dragging Eagles SH DEKLARK, who came in to tackle him, still further forward. He went on to drag three men into the in-goal to score a try.

The conversion goal after the try was missed, but the Blue Revs were seven points behind at 15-8 with this score at the end of the first half, and this big play by the Blue Revs’ SMITH, which was replayed on the electric board, made such a strong impression on the crowd that the whole place was in stitches for a few moments. It left a strong impression on the crowd.

The first half ended here, but the game was hotly contested and lived up to the expectations of the spectators who had gathered for this evening’s night-time game. What will the second half bring?

21 minutes into the second half:

For a while in the second half, the game was deadlocked and no goals were being scored. It was only after a change of players in the Eagles’ SH and SO that the game started to get going.

At the same time, the Blue Revs switched to Greene (number 22) at CTB, and the developing attack began to find its rhythm and break through the opposition’s defensive network. GREENE then developed to the left and FB FARIA scored a try in the in-goal in the middle left of the enemy line. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the Blue Revs tied the score at 15-15.

31 minutes of the second half:

The game was leaning towards the Blue Revs at this time of the game. In attack, the Blue Revs started to push the Eagles forward, mainly through CTB GREENE, and in the scrums. Once the Blue Revs were pushed into their own in-goal, they regained the ball in a tight battle and connected with the ball from their own in-goal, and with an effective touch kick by SO IEMURA, they quickly advanced to the 22m line on the left side of the enemy line. Here, the Eagles secured the ball in their own lineout and attempted to connect and advance, but dropped the ball and committed a Not Release the ball infringement in a tight battle there, handing the Eagles the right to attack. From the penalty kick, Blue Revs No.8 Smith took advantage of a momentary lapse by his opponent and surged forward to score a try in the middle left corner. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the Blue Revs finally succeeded in turning the tables. The score was 15-22.

Once again, Kwagga SMITH did the decisive work.

33 minutes into the second half:

Eagles, looking for a win at all costs, went on the offensive from the kick-off after the try, catching the Blue Revs’ kick for a positional recovery and counter-attacking from there. FB MARAIS (substitution), who received the ball, used his individual skills to get past four Blue Revs defenders, where he offloaded and passed to WTB TAKEZAWA, who scored a try in the left corner of the opposition’s in-goal. Eagles kicker OGURA succeeded with a PG from a difficult position in the left corner to level the scores at 22-22.

39 minutes of the second half:

The Eagles came out on the attack in the closing stages of the match, with both the FW and BK going all out in a maul, while the BK, led by FB MALLEY, tore through the opposition’s defensive network. The Eagles kicker was OGURA, who was slightly more comfortable kicking the PG than the previous conversion goal. So far this season, OGURA had enjoyed a 100% success rate in goal. However, the kick was unsuccessful as it deflected to the left of the goal post. Immediately afterwards, the Eagles’ HC SAWAKI’s bitter face appeared on the electronic board, and the stadium cheered.

In the end, the match ended with the score at that level, and was a draw. Note that the Man of the match was Blue Revs’ No.8 Kwagga Smith.

The fans in attendance applauded both teams for a good game. Thanks, players.


Stop the war.

Peace to Ukraine


RUGBY JERSEY -2022-23 League One Section 9:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars VS NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu

(Author: Azul, March 8, 2023)

On 26 February 2023, Japan Rugby League One reached its ninth round and I went to Chichibunomiya Rugby Ground in Minato Ward, Tokyo, to watch the game. (Nearly half of my matches this season have been at Chichibunomiya Rugby Ground.)

League One has already played half of its matches this season, and as of 26 February, the standings are as follows.

2022-23League One Order(Division 1)2023.2.26
1Kubota Spears80138184
2Tokyo Sungoliath81036151
3Saitama Wildnights80035157
4Yokohama Eagles62131153
5Tokyo Brave Lupas4502164
6Kobe Steelers440194
7Sagamihara Dynaboars34115-98
8Shizuoka Blue Revs26115-1
9Black Rams Tokyo36014-21
10Toyota Verblitz36014-76
11Green Rockets Tokatsu1705-165
12Hanazono Riners0901-352
WP=Winning Point
GD=Goal Difference

The four teams in the play-offs for the championship are now almost firmly established, with the Wildnights, Spears, Sungoliath and Eagles in the top four and points clear of the bottom five, with Bravelupas in fifth place still in with a chance of pulling the upset.

Conversely, the three teams at the bottom of the table, Liners (12th) and Green Rockets (11th), are almost certain to play for a place in Division 2. The remaining one team could be any of the teams in 7th to 10th place. It is a tough survival game.

If a team is relegated from Division 1 to Division 2, it will play significantly fewer games and attract fewer spectators, which means lower salaries for individual players and more players having their contracts terminated next season. The replacement competition is a battle for survival as a professional sports player.

And today’s game was a match between two teams who cannot afford to lose to each other in order to win the replacement game.

It’s between the Dynaboars, currently ranked seventh in League One, and the Green Rockets, currently ranked 11th.

Here are the latest updates on both teams.

First, an update on the home team of the day, the Sagamihara Dynaboars.

Last season, they finished third in Division 2 and beat NTT Shining Arcs in the replacement round to gain their long-awaited promotion to Division 1. Before the season started, most predictions were that the team would finish in the bottom half of the table, as they were promoted from third place in Division 2. However, the team has greatly surpassed those expectations, winning three games, losing one and drawing one by the fifth round, winning against last season’s top teams and becoming the eye of the storm in the first half of the season.

Today’s opponents, Green Rockets, were last in Division One last season, failing to win a single game, but survived to reach the round of fixtures and remain in Division One. For the Dynaboars players and fans, this was a game they did not want to lose. I expect a hot game.

Here is today’s starting line-up for the Dynaboars.

1Hayato HOSODA173cm103kg27 
2Yuki MIYAZATO179cm103kg25 
3Tomoaki ISHII182cm120kg27 
4Linde Makoto DANIEL198cm105kg35 
5Walt STEENKAMP203cm121kg27 
6Masataka TSURUYA186cm105kg32 
7Yusuke SAKAMOTO176cm95kg24 
8Jackson HEMOPO194cm112kg29NZ 5cap
9Kota Iwamura182cm87kg29 
10James SHILLCOCK178cm88kg25 
11Nozomi NARA180cm93kg26 
12Henry BRACKIN180cm95kg34Japan 7th
13Curtis RONA194cm102kg30 
14Jonmun HAN184cm93kg26 
15Alaia’sa Solarorand177cm94kg27 

** Player to watch **

Kota IWAMURA. 182 cm, 87 kg, 29 years old. He is a graduate of Doshisha University and is the captain of the Dynaboars. A large scrum-half, a rarity in Japan, he is a rare player who can break through the scrum side and stop opposing FWs from breaking through on their own, with a physique that is comparable to a FW third row player.

Next, here is the latest information on NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu.

As of 26 Feb, they are in 11th place in League One with 1 win and 7 losses. Their only win came from the bottom-placed Liners. Last season, the team lost all of its games in League One and finished at the bottom of the table, but in the replacement round, they played with HONDA Heat to stay in Division One. The team’s attacking ability is also good in Division One, as is the way they play. The main reasons for the loss are the high level of infringements and the incomplete team defence: the Green Rockets brought in a large number of players from other teams before entering League One, so their team tactics are not yet set in stone. The Green Rockets, however, have been rubbing shoulders with the Dynaboars at the high level of Division One last season and are determined not to lose to a newly promoted team, which is the opposite of the Dynaboars. They are not going to want to lose this match either.

The Green Rockets starting line-up is as follows.

Green Rockets
1Suguru KUBO178cm110kg24 
2Yo SATO178cm96kg29 
3Satoshi UEDA181cm112kg33 
4Daiki Yamagiwa198cm103kg24 
5Luke PORTER201cm119kg25 
6Whetukamokamo Douglas190cm110kg30 
7Ryoi KAMEI178cm97kg28 
8Aseri MASIVOU180cm87kg24Japan 7th
9Nick PHIPPS170cm75kg34Australia 72cap
10Taisetsu Kanai178cm88kg25 
11Kanta OMATA171cm82kg28 
12Christian RAUI180cm105kg24 
13Maritino Nemani181cm101kg30 
14Yuma SUGIMOTO178cm86kg25 
15Lemeki LOMANO LAVA178cm96kg34Japan 16cap

** Player to watch **

Lemeki LOMANO LAVA. 178 cm, 96 kg, 34 years old. Japan national team caps=16. Position=WTB, FB, SO. In a sense, he represents the current Green Rockets. He moved from Honda Heat at the start of League One. The Green Rockets did not have a player who could play the game-making SO at a high level, so Lemeki, who has not enough experience as SO, played a lot of games as the main SO last season. However, he has gradually adapted and has done so, reaffirming Lemeki’s extraordinary talent.

So, let the match begin.

5 minutes into the first half:

Dynaboars kicked off and the game got underway, with Dynaboars looking for an opportunity to score in opposition territory. From there, the Dynaboars expanded to the right and SO Shilcock easily slipped through to score a try just under the opposition goal posts. A successful conversion goal after the try also put the Dynaboars ahead. The score was 7-0.

25 minutes into the first half:

Green Rockets kicked the ball deep into enemy territory, where the Dynaboars attempted to maul their way forward from their own lineout, but the ball was held up by Green Rockets and a maul unplayable infringement was committed, resulting in a scrum. The Green Rockets then moved the ball left and CTB RAUI broke through the opposition defence to score a try at the left end of the goal post. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was tied 7-7.

29 minutes of the first half:

The Dynaboars secured the ball kicked into their own right flank, and when it was deployed from there, the Green Rockets were fouled for Not role away. From that position, SO SHILLCOCK kicked a PK to the enemy’s right near the 22m line, where the Dynaboars attempted a series of attacks from their own ball lineout, which the Green Rockets defence held firm and stopped well, but when the ball was deployed to the left, the Dynaboars SO SHILLCOCK cut in cleverly and scored a try in the left centre. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was 14-7, Dynaboars again taking the lead.

First 34 minutes into the first half:

The Green Rockets launched a series of attacks in enemy territory. The Green Rockets attacked strongly and gradually moved forward in enemy territory, gradually closing in on the opposition in-goal. Green Rockets’ No.8 MASIVOU dragged three opposition day defenders to the edge of the in-goal, which was barely stopped by the Dynaboars’ defenders. However, Green Rockets SH PHIPPS supplied a quick pass from here and SO KANAI scored a try to the right side of the goal post. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was again level at 14-14.

The first half ended with the score unchanged.

The Dynaboars scored two tries through SO Shilcock’s clever exploitation of the opposition defence after breaking down the opposition formation with an all-out attack, while the Green Rockets showed their ability to break through with their No.8 and CTB to score tries by sheer force. It was an evenly contested game, with both sides showing their strengths.

Now for the start of the second half.

9 minutes into the second half:

Greeen Rockets lost a lineout of their own ball near the 22m line on the right side of enemy territory to the Dynaboars. However, in a dense battle immediately afterwards, the Green Rockets won the ball back and launched a series of attacks. After a series of densely packed battles near the goal posts, Green Rockets’ SO KANAI saw the opposition formation and released a long pass to WTB OMATA who was waiting on the left flank. OMATA caught it and scored a try in the left corner of the enemy in-goal. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was 14-21, with the Green Rockets taking the lead for the first time in the match.

17 minutes into the second half:

The Dynaboars scored from a lineout deep in the enemy territory on their right flank, and after a maul, they surged forward and hooker MIYAZATO scored a try in the middle on the right. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was tied 21-21.

23 minutes into the second half:

The Dynaboars were looking for a try rather than a PG after an infringement in opposition territory, and SO Silcock kicked deep down the right flank to give them a lineout on their own ball, which they mauled for a try. Once the Green Rockets broke up the maul, they were penalised and the Dynaboars again went for a maul try, with hooker MIYAZATO scoring his second try of the day. The conversion goal after the try failed, and the score was 26-21, with the Dynaboars back in front.

34 minutes into the second half:

After FB Roland was temporarily sent off for a foul by the Dynaboars in the 27th minute of the second half, the Green Rockets went on the attack in quick succession, trying to score a try, but the Dynaboars managed to hold on. However, the Green Rockets then won a lineout on the left side of the opposition line, and from there, the Green Rockets formed a maul and surged forward, scoring a try by hooker SATO in the middle on the left.

Hooker SATO scored a try. The conversion goal after the try failed.

40 minutes of the second half

The teams were locked in a tight contest with only a few minutes remaining. The Green Rockets dominated the ball and continued to attack in succession, using all the ground left and right, until the Green Rockets broke from the right corner and the ball was passed to FB REMEKI, who rolled in a golo punt from deep enemy territory. This was caught by Green Rockets WTB OMATA, who scored a try in the left corner of the enemy in-goal.

The horn went before the conversion goal after the try, so the game ended as soon as the conversion goal after the try was scored. The final score was 26-33.

The win gave Green Rockets their second win since the opening day of the season. In contrast, the Dynaboars suffered their fourth consecutive defeat, but as they won by seven points or less, they picked up one winning point. Both teams will now have a tough battle to stay in the first division, which will continue until the final day of the season.

Paid attendance on the day was 3,217. Thanks for the hotly contested match. Thanks to both teams.


Stop the war.

Peace to Ukraine