• Kyodo


The Panasonic Wild Knights maintained their perfect start to the new Japan Rugby Top League season Saturday, beating the Canon Eagles 43-8 at Kumagaya Athletic Stadium.

Digby Ioane and Akihito Yamada each picked up a brace of five-pointers and Kenki Fukuoka and Takuya Yamasawa also touched down as the Wild Knights picked up a bonus-point win for the second week running.

Berrick Barnes added three conversions and a penalty goal and Yamasawa kicked two conversions.

The Kobe Kobelco Steelers picked up their second win of the season, as well, beating the Munakata Sanix Blues 20-3, as did Yamaha Jubilo, who beat Toyota Industries Shuttles 38-10.

Meanwhile, Teruya Goto grabbed a hat-trick of tries as the NEC Green Rockets hammered the Coca-Cola Red Sparks 48-12, Toyota Verblitz downed the Kintetsu Liners 22-9 and the Kubota Spears topped the newly promoted NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 45-24.

The first half in Kumagaya opened with both sides looking to attack. But a slippery ball all too often meant a handling error preventing either side from putting the phases together.

But the longer the half went on, the more comfortable the Wild Knights became with ball in hand, and following a penalty from Barnes in the 20th minute, the backs let rip.

Ioane powered over in the 29th and 37th minutes, either side of Yamada finishing off a good break from Rikiya Matsuda as Panasonic led 22-0 at the break.

Ryohei Mitomo closed the gap with a penalty two minutes into the second half.

But that only fired up Panasonic and Fukuoka burned the Eagles defense for pace to go over two minutes later.

Yamada then added his second before he was joined on the scoresheet by Yamasawa.

Tetsu Uehara added a consolation effort for Canon in the 72nd minute but it was an evening when Panasonic’s strength in depth proved too good for the Eagles.

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