Rugby

Suntory Sungoliath pound winless NEC Green Rockets

Kyodo

A hat trick of tries from man-of-the-match Tevita Li lifted Suntory Sungoliath to a 40-14 bonus-point victory over the winless NEC Green Rockets on Saturday.

The 24-year-old wing from New Zealand opened the scoring in each half, crossing the chalk in the fifth minute and again in the 44th when he made it a 19-0 game.

Li completed his hat trick with his fifth try in four games in the 76th minute, and former Australia stalwart Matt Giteau kicked his fifth conversion to complete the scoring.

Japan international Hendrick Tui scored his first try of the season for Sungoliath, while his 2019 World Cup teammate Kotaro Matsushima and Tevita Tatafu also crossed for Suntory.

Australian Sam Jeffries had a brace for the Green Rockets.

Neither team attempted a penalty goal in the game in front of 6,243 fans at Expo ’70 Commemorative Stadium.

In other matches Saturday, the Toshiba Brave Lupus improved to 4-0, beating the last-place Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars 45-26, with Jone Naikabula and Taiki Matsunobu each bagging a brace.

Yamaha Jubilo picked up their third win in an eight-try, 48-19 demolition of the Hino Red Dolphins.

That game was followed at Nagoya’s Paloma Mizuho Rugby Stadium by Toyota Verblitz’s 58-29 win over the Honda Heat, in which New Zealand-born wing Jamie Henry scored his sixth and seventh tries of the season.