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Japan champion Suntory got off to a good start to the new season, by beating newly promoted Japan IBM 90-17 in the opening match of the East Japan Company Rugby Union League at Chichibunomiya Stadium on Sunday.

Suntory winger Hirotoki Onozawa scored a try five minutes into the game to launch the Sungoliath’s 14-try attack.

Full-back and kicker Toru Kurihara scored two tries and succeeded in 10 conversions with winger Yasuharu Uryu, Alama Ieremia and substitute winger Hakashi Yoshida each scoring two tries for Suntory.

IBM replied with three tries — through Hiroki Ando in the first half and Takeshi Ito and Nathan Ashley in the second half to entertain its fans among the crowd of 4,500.

Oxford spared blues

A last-minute penalty by Oxford University fly-half Matthew Honeyben ensured that the honors were shared as the Dark Blues opened their Japan tour with a 23-23 draw against Waseda University on Sunday.

The game was the first to be played at Waseda’s new home ground at Kamiikusa and the two student teams played out an entertaining game.

The Waseda players had obviously benefited from the training given to them over the summer by former British Lions coach Graham Henry and Cardiff coach David Young and their improved ball retention and stability at the set pieces held them in good stead against their larger opponents.

Oxford scored three tries to Waseda’s two but was on the wrong end of a number of strange decisions by Shinsuke Shimoi that allowed Eiji Ando to keep his team in the game with three penalties.

Oxford plays Keio University on Sept. 18 at the National Stadium and Kanto Gakuen University on Sept. 22 at Chichibunomiya. (Rich Freeman)

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