May 26, 2016

JRFU alters rugby national championship format

The top three teams in the Top League and the winner of the university championship will compete under a tournament format at the rugby national championship in January next year, the Japan Rugby Football Union said Thursday. The Top League champions will play the ...

May 19, 2016

Top League to change bonus point system, foreign player limit

Japan Top League teams will be able to play more foreign-born players this autumn, the league said Thursday, when it announced several changes to the competition ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Until now teams were able to have up to three foreign-born players on ...

May 16, 2016

Wallaby legend Smith returning to Suntory

Suntory Sungoliath confirmed Monday that George Smith was returning to the club for the 2016-2017 Top League season. The former Wallaby previously played for Sungoliath from 2011-2014 before heading to Europe. Last week Smith, who won 111 caps for Australia, was named the Players’ ...

Apr 19, 2016

Kobe appoints ex-Wallabies assistant McKay as new coach

Kobe Kobelco Steelers named former Wallabies and Tonga assistant Jim McKay as their new head coach on Tuesday. The 49-year-old Australian succeeds Allister Coetzee, who left to take over the Springboks. McKay will be the Steelers’ fourth head coach in four years, and will ...

Top League boss Coetzee hired to lead Springboks

Apr 12, 2016

Top League boss Coetzee hired to lead Springboks

Allister Coetzee made the big jump from coaching Top League side Kobe Kobelco Steelers to running South Africa on Tuesday, when the appointment was announced by the South African Rugby Union. A former Springbok assistant, Coetzee coached Steelers to a fourth-place finish last season, ...

Mafi's amazing return to continue at Bath

Feb 17, 2016

Mafi's amazing return to continue at Bath


Fourteen months ago Amanaki Lelei Mafi was lying in a hospital bed wondering if he would ever play rugby again, having dislocated his hip in a Top League game for NTT Communications Shining Arcs. On Tuesday, he was holding court at one of the ...

Feb 4, 2016

Yamashita joins Chiefs for Super Rugby campaign

Japan prop Hiroshi Yamashita will join the Chiefs for the upcoming Super Rugby season, his Top League club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers, announced Thursday. The 30-year-old Yamashita, who has played 49 times for the Brave Blossoms and was a member of the team at last ...

Horie named Top League season MVP

Jan 25, 2016

Horie named Top League season MVP


Shota Horie of the Panasonic Wild Knights was on Monday selected as the best player of the 2015-16 Top League season in Japanese rugby’s banner year. The 30-year-old hooker, who helped Panasonic win its third straight championship with a 27-26 victory over the Toshiba ...

Panasonic captures Top League title

Jan 24, 2016

Panasonic captures Top League title


Panasonic Wild Knights survived an almighty late scare to become Top League champions for the third straight season after beating Toshiba Brave Lupus 27-26 in Sunday’s LIXIL Cup final. South African winger JP Pietersen looked to have put the Wild Knights home and dry ...

Jan 23, 2016

Red Hurricanes finish last in Top League

NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes discovered Saturday that signing high profile players on short-term contracts doesn’t guarantee a turnaround in fortune as they finished bottom of the Top League following a 32-22 defeat to NEC Green Rockets at Komazawa Olympic Park. Fortunately for Masahiro Shimooki ...