Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sanyo Wild Knights win Japan Top League Final
The debut season of USA Eagles backrower and captain, Todd Clever, in Japan had been nearly perfect until the final as his side the Suntory Sungoliaths were defeated 28-23 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground by the Sanyo Wild Knights. With the win, the Sanyo Wild Knight claimed their first ever Japan Top League Premiership title. Despite never having been champions, the Sanyo Wildcats had been competitive over recent years. In fact, they are a similar story to French champions Clermont. The French side were defeated in three consecutive finals from 2007-2009 before winning the 2010 final vs Perpignan. The Sanyo Wildcats went into this past weekends final after losing the past three finals.
Suntory were the bestter side in the first half as they scored the only try of and took an 11-6 halftime lead. After the break, however, Sanyo put on a show as Yu Young Nam, Akihito Yamada and Tadasuke Nishihara all scred tries to take a big lead. But Suntory fought until the end with backrower Yasunori Nagatomo scoring two tries and former Australian captain, George Gregan also crossing the tryline after coming on as a replacement.