GIFU – A select team from Japan’s Top League lost to French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne 50-29 on Saturday.
The charity match at Gifu Memorial Center Nagaragawa Stadium raised funds for community reconstruction from natural disasters in Japan, including the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku.
The French side took an early lead with George Moala’s third-minute try and never gave up control of the match, cruising past a Top League side made up of veterans and young talent.
Suntory Sungoliath’s Seiya Ozaki scored tries both sides of halftime. He bagged the home side’s first try in the 14th minute before Colin Bourke’s successful attempt two minutes later brought it within two points of Clermont.
But tries by Peceli Yato, Remy Grosso and Charlie Cassang, along with a conversion by Tim Nanai-Williams, made it 31-12 at halftime.
Clermont went home with the win after the teams crossed the line three times each in the second half. Kobe Kobelco Steelers’ Akihiro Shimizu missed both his conversion chances, while William Hutteau and Nanai-Williams each converted in the second half.
Steelers head coach Dave Dillon led the Top League select squad for the match.