Tomoki Kitagawa marked his 100th Top League game in style Sunday as he crossed four times in Panasonic Wild Knights’ 80-7 thrashing of Munakata Sanix Blues.
The flying wing crossed three times in the first half as the defending champions responded to an early Sanix try by Bryce Robins in the best possible way.
George Whitelock grabbed three tries for the Wild Knights while Berrick Barnes scored a try and four conversions after coming on at halftime.
The victory sees Panasonic move onto 19 points in Pool A, one behind Toshiba Brave Lupus.
Yamaha Jubilo also have 19 points, though they trail Panasonic on points difference, following a 28-28 draw with Kubota Spears.
Kyosuke Horie’s second try of the day and a conversion by Ayumu Goromaru eight minutes from time ensured Jubilo grabbed a share of the points after former All Black Isaia Toeava had scored Kubota’s fourth try in the 64th minute.
NTT Communications Shining Arcs are fourth on 16 points following a 32-21 win over NEC Green Rockets. Elton Jantjies was the NTT hero, the former Springbok knocking over a drop goal five minutes from time.
NTT’s win combined with the two other results mean Sanix and Toyota Industries Shuttles cannot finish the first stage in the top four of Pool A and will play the second half of the season in the second tier.
Top League action stops for two weeks while the Japan sevens team play in the Asian Games. The remaining two games of the first stage will be played on Oct. 11-12 and Oct. 19.