RUGBY JERSEY -2022-23 League One Division 1 Final: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars vs RICOH Black Rams

(Author: Azul, May 10, 2023)

This time, I went to Sagamihara GION Stadium to watch the final match of League One Division 1.

First of all, let’s check the standings of League One Division 1 at the start of the final round:

2022-23League One Order(Division 1)2023.4.22
1Saitama Wildnights151069269
2Kubota Spears131161281
3Tokyo Sungoliath123055219
4Yokohama Eagles92449241
5Tokyo Brave Lupas106041164
6Toyota Verblitz780339
7Shizuoka Blue Revs5283011
8Black Rams Tokyo51002620
9Kobe Steelers510025-73
10Sagamihara Dynaboars410120-239
11Green Rockets Tokatsu21309-262
12Hanazono Riners11405-540
WP=Winning Point
GD=Goal Difference

As of 22 April, the teams that will advance to the play-offs (i.e. the top four teams) and the teams that will participate in the replacement round (i.e. the bottom three teams) have been confirmed.

The home team this time, Dynaboars, finished 10th out of 12 teams in Division 1 and will play in the replacement round.

Their opponents in the round-robin matches will be the Toyota Shuttles, the third-placed team in Division 2, who will play two matches on a home-and-away basis from 5 May. The teams in the replacement round have a small difference in ability, so it is difficult to predict who will win. Also, both players and fans are very passionate in their support as they never want to lose.

In this sense, the final League One match of the day is also an important one. Especially for Dynaboars, the season is not over yet, so we have to make sure that the players are in peak condition for the replacement game.

Let me now introduce both teams for the match of the day.

First, let me introduce the home team, Sagamihara Dynaboars.

The photo above shows the Dynastars, the cheerleaders of the Dynaboars. On this day, they also cheered us up with their support.

Before the season started, there were pessimistic predictions that the Dynaboars would finish in last place. However, at the start of the League One season, they were the stars of the first half of the season, defeating last season’s top teams, RICOH Black Rams, Toyota Verblitz and TOSHIBA Brave Lupas.

The team’s dramatic run of victories has given hope for the team’s prospects for next season and beyond, and Dynaboars fans will have shown a lot of growth to cheer for. Today’s starting line-up is as follows:

1Shunsuke SAKAMOTO180cm107kg24 
2Yoshimitsu YASUE176cm109kg38Japan 2caps
3Jun MORIMOTO175cm115kg25 
4Epineri ULUIVITI196cm122kg26 
5Walt STEENKAMP203cm121kg27 
6Sam CHONCKIT198cm106kg27 
7Yusuke SAKAMOTO176cm95kg24 
8Jackson HEMOPO194cm112kg29NZ 5caps
9Ryuta NAKAMORI174cm75kg22 
10Matt TOOMUA182cm90kg32Australia 59caps
11Satoshi KOIZUMI178cm86kg22 
12Henry BRACKIN180cm95kg34Japan 7th
13Nozomi NARA179cm94kg26 
14Toh Jr. VAEGA175cm85kg25 
15Kazuki ISHIDA173cm85kg26 

The Dynaboars can be characterised as a generally defensively sound team. In other words, their scoring ability is lower than other Division 1 teams. The Dynaboars rugby this season is all attack and all defence, as there are no outstanding attacking core players.

** Player to watch **

Satoshi KOIZUMI. 178 cm, 86 kg, 22 years old. Waseda University graduate. Born in Sagamihara City, home of the Dynaboars, he started playing rugby at Sagamihara RS. A rookie with a long left-footed kick, he is the team’s most promising player, having earned a starting place towards the end of League One. Fans are hoping that his development will lead to a breakthrough for the Dynaboars.

By the way, let’s introduce the Visitor Team of the day, the RICOH Black Rams.

As the team name Black Rams symbolises, many of the players in the team are from the southern hemisphere, with players from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Tonga, making for a powerful attacking force. In contrast to the Dynaboars, the first half of the season saw a string of defeats and a poor run of results, but in the second half of the season, the team’s attacking rugby began to work and they won a number of games in a row. Compared to last season, the team has a stronger squad of players, which has led to this season’s breakthrough.

Today’s starting line-up is as follows.

Black Rams
1Kazuma NISHI180cm112kg27 
2Ko SATO168cm95kg23 
3Taichi CHIBA176cm117kg28 
4Michael Stolberg204cm120kg30 
5Lotoahea Pohiva YAMATO192cm115kg34 
6Amato Fakatava195cm118kg28 
7Brodi McCURRAN192cm105kg28 
8Nathan HUGHES196cm126kg31England 22caps
9Shota YAMAMOTO166cm74kg32 
10Kohei Horigome177cm89kg27 
11Netani Vakayalia180cm88kg24 
12Hadleigh PARKES187cm103kg35Wales 29caps
13Amanaki Taiyo LOTOAHEA189cm100kg25Japan 8caps
14Yuta KURIHARA179cm90kg25 
15Izac Lucas178cm84kg23 

** Players to watch **.

Isaac Lucas. 178 cm, 84 kg, 23 years old. Born in Australia; U20 Australian national team. Position = SO, FB. the face of the Black Rams and a key player in attack. His run play is characteristic and his ability to break through once he gets into opposition territory makes him a threat to the opposing team.

Let’s kick off today’s match.

The attendance on the day was 3,140. This was the last match of the season, which was a digestive match, but it attracted a large crowd. You could feel the high expectations for the local team.

17 minutes into the first half:

Despite not scoring, the Black Rams continued to attack in opposition territory throughout, with Black Rams No 8 Nathan HUGHES making several effective breakthroughs, and the Black Rams opted for a penalty after a foul on the Dynaboars during an attack in opposition territory. The lineout was on the right near the enemy 22m line and was a own ball lineout. Here, the Black Rams won the ball and mauled their way forward and scored a try in the middle right of the enemy in-goal. The score was scored by No. 8 Nathan HUGHES. A conversion goal after the try failed, leaving the score 0-5 to the Black Rams.

24 minutes into the first half:

From the kick-off after the try, the Dynaboars attacked in enemy territory, but were unable to make headway when deployed and were eventually forced back into their own territory by a Black Rams counter attack.

Here, the Black Rams entered enemy territory and, in much the same position as they had been at the time of the first try, they were penalised for an infringement by their opponents. Here, Black Rams SO HORIGOME kicked out to the 22m line on the right side of the opposition line, giving the Black Rams the opportunity to take the ball out of their own half, where they formed a maul and followed the same pattern as before, looking to score a try. However, the Dynaboars broke up the maul midway through, so it had to be rearranged.

From another lineout, the Black Rams successfully formed a maul and raced into the middle of the opposition in-goal on the right, with hooker SATOH scoring the try. The conversion goal after the try failed, leaving the score 0-10.

30 minutes of the first half:

The Dynaboars had been poor on the flanks, struggling to win possession, and when they did get to the BK, they were caught by the opposition defence and were unable to break the gain line.

The Black Ramas again followed the same pattern, scoring their third try of the day from a lineout, forming a maul and rolling into the opposition territory to score a try. The try was scored by No.8 Nathan Hughes. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was 0-17, giving Black Rams a big lead.

38 minutes into the first half:

Black Rams deployed deep in enemy territory and looked to have scored a try in the middle right, but the referee ruled it a no try.

Shortly afterwards, however, the Black Rams attacked through sign play following an infringement by their opponents in front of the opposition goal, and a maul saw them score a try in the middle left. The try was scored by Black Rams FL McCURRAN. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 0-24.

The first half ended with the score unchanged. The Black Rams almost took control of the attack and the Dynaboars did not even look like scoring.

Can the Dynaboars recover from this poor start in the second half?

Let’s get the second half underway.

7 minutes into the second half:

After resetting their bodies at half-time, the Dynaboars players showed some persistence in the densely-packed battle. They entered the enemy territory and began to continue with a series of attacks, and in front of the enemy in-goal, they attacked again and again from the density and finally Dynaboars’ No.8 HEMOPO scored a try right in the middle of the in-goal. A converted goal after the try was also successful, making the score 7-24.

13 minutes into the second half:

In the second half, Dynaboars’ attacking time increased dramatically. This was accompanied by a reduction in the number of penalties committed by the Dynaboars and more opportunities to get close to the opposition’s in-goal. The Dynaboars then took advantage of an infringement by their opponents and, from a lineout in front of the in-goal on the left side of the opposition line, formed a maul and went on to score a try. The try was scored by hooker YASUE. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 14-24.

26 minutes into the second half:

The Dynaboars attack started to gain momentum here. Whereas the Black Rams had scored in the first half through a tight FW game, the Dynaboars’ attack used the ground more widely and attacked with all hands. This opened up holes in the Black Rams’ defence and allowed the Dynaboars players to flourish.

The Dynaboars players continued to attack in a densely contested enemy position in front of goal, culminating in substitute No.8 CURTIS scoring a try to the left side of the goal post. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score was 21-24, with the Dynaboars finally within three points.

32 minutes into the second half:

With the Black Rams three points behind, they changed their attacking style and, like the Dynaboars, their BKs began to connect the ball and spread it all over the ground.

Only in the second half did Black Rams get close to the opposition in-goal, with the FWs finally charging forward from sign play and No.8 HUGHES scoring a try in the middle on the right. The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score, 21-31.

The final score remained the same and the game was over. At the end of the first half, it looked like a convincing win for Black Rams, but the Dynaboars rallied in the second half to make it a match worth watching.

The Black Rams will now finish the season, while the Dynaboars will play two more matches in the replacement round. We look forward to a continuation of the hotly contested matches.


Stop the war.

Peace to Ukraine


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