Kolbe stars as Suntory Sungoliath make big statement

WRAP ROUND ONE: Cheslin Kolbe showed his incredible class as he kicked off his Suntory Sungoliath career with a 52-26 away win against reigning champions Kubota Spears.

Kolbe, who played at fullback, picked up the man of the match award during Sunday’s fixture.

He was joined in Suntory Sungoliath’s lineup by All Blacks captain Sam Cane, who got through 57 minutes on his league debut.

The Spears managed to salvage a bonus point by scoring three tries in the second half, but by then the damage had already been done as Suntory had established a commanding 35-7 lead at the half.

World Rugby Player of the Year Ardie Savea had yet another incredible Japanese League One debut, leading his team to an 80-15 victory over Mie Heat, the newcomers.

Four minutes after kickoff, Captain Brodie Retallick scored the first try. Six minutes later, All Black Ngane Laumape did the same.

The home team got off to the ideal start and maintained pressure on the recently promoted Mie Heat by leading 26–10 at halftime.

The visitors leaked a further eight tries in the second period, with Retallick getting a second, Savea scoring a brace, while hooker Takuya Kitade – who had joined the ‘party’ off the bench – celebrated with a hattrick inside of the last 20 minutes.

Saturdays was another tight one between Toyota Verblitz and Black Rams.

The fixture produced just three tries, and only three points in the second half, as All Black recruits Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith tasted victory on debut for Verblitz, who prevailed 15-8.

World Cup winner Kwagga Smith’s try was not enough as Blue Revs went down 30-43 to Brave Lupus.

Similar to Smith, six weeks prior, Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel were rejoicing after winning the world championship twice.

But on Sunday, the South African teammate Damien de Allende’s Wild Knights brought the Springbok duo and their Eagles teammates back to earth with a thud following a 53-12 trample, leaving them licking their wounds.

Even though the season is only a weekend old, it has only taken 80 minutes to emphasize to the semifinalists from the previous season how difficult it will be to qualify for the playoffs once more.

Division One

Saturday, December 9
Kobe Steelers 80, Mie Heat 15
MDynaboars 30, Liners 29
Toyota Verblitz 15, Black Rams 8
Brave Lupus 43, Blue Revs 30

Sunday, December 10
Suntory Sungoliath 52, Kubota Spears 26
Wild Knights 53 Eagles 12

Division Two

Saturday, December 9
Green Rockets 32, Urayasu D-Rocks 29
Red Hurricanes 26, Voltex 22

Sunday, December 10
Aichi 52, Seawaves 7

Division Three

Saturday, December 9
Red Dolphins 30, Blue Sharks 16

Picture credit: @Sungoliath 

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