Saturday, March 28, 2015


3 March 2015

Written by Ian Mcdonnell

RiJ was in attendance at the final of the National Championship on Saturday where Yamaha pulled off a surprising, but solid 15-3 win over Suntory.

Enjoy the read.


  • The 52nd National Championship 2015: Final
  • HSBC World Series Sevens:

The 52nd National Championship 2015


Yamaha Jubilo (Top League) 15 d Suntory Sungoliath (Top League Wildcard) 3

Yamaha 15 – Tries: Male Sau, Shinji Nakazono; Conversion: Ayumu Goromaru; Penalty: Ayumu Goromaru d

Suntory 3 – Penalty: Tusi Pisi

Date: Saturday, 28 February 2015
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14:00

Referee: Akihisa Aso
Halftime: Yamaha 15 – Suntory 3
Attendance: 14,627

Conditions: Fine, light breeze, forecast daily maximum for Tokyo 12 degrees Celsius. Surface patchy but dry and fast.

Yellow Cards: Fourie du Preez (Suntory No.9, 32 min 1H, repeated team infringements), Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha No.15, 11 min 2H, charging player in the air).

Yamaha: 1- Koki Yamamoto, 2- Takeshi Hino, 3- Yoshikazu Tamura, 4- Yuya Odo, 5- Duke Krishnan, 6- Mose Tuiali’i, 7- Yuhimaru Mimura (c), 8- Kyosuke Horie, 9- Yuki Yatomi, 10- Tatsuhiko Otao, 11- Shinji Nakazono, 12- Male Sau, 13- Masatoshi Miyazawa, 14- Chikara Ito and 15- Ayumu Goromaru. Reserves: 16- Keita Kato, 17- Naoya Kishi, 18- Ryo Yamamura, 19- Keisuke Yagishita, 20- Kazuki Yamaji, 21- Shinya Ikemachi, 22- Siale Piutau and 23- Rocky Havili. Coach: Katsuyuki Kiyomiya.

Suntory: 1- Tateo Kanai, 2- Yusuke Aoki, 3- Kensuke Hatakeyama, 4- Koji Shinozuka, 5- Shinya Makabe (c), 6- Masakatsu Nishikawa, 7- Takamichi Sasaki, 8- Juntaro Takemoto, 9- Fourie du Preez, 10- Tusi Pisi, 11- Daishi Murata, 12- Ryoto Nakamura, 13- Kotaro Matsushima, 14- Yasunori Nagatomo and 15- Kenta Tsukamoto. Reserves: 16- Naoki Ozawa, 17- Shintaro Ishihara, 18- Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19- Yuki Tsujimoto, 20- Schalk Burger, 21- Atsushi Hiwasa, 22- Ryan Nicholas and 23- Shohei Takeshita. Coach: Naoya Okubo.

Recent Encounters

Suntory 16 d Yamaha 12 (TL 2014-15, Stage 2)
Suntory 22 d Yamaha 19 (TL 2013-14, Stage 2)
Suntory 35 d Yamaha 29 (TL 2012-13)
Suntory 26 d Yamaha 13 (TL 2011-12)
Suntory 72 d Yamaha 0 (TL 2010-11)
Suntory 51 d Yamaha 13 (TL 2009-10)
Yamaha 31 d Suntory 27 (TL 2008-9)


Yamaha Jubilo, playing in their first-ever Championship final, ground out a gutsy 15-3 win over six-time champions Suntory Sungoliath in the decider of the 52nd National Championship 2015 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Saturday 28 February 2015.

Yamaha brought the curtain down on the domestic season for another year as the Shizuoka prefecture-based Jubilo claimed their first piece of serious silverware with the national title.

“That was our best game all season.” An impressed Yamaha head coach Katsuyuki Kiyomiya said after the dust had settled. He went on to say that his players fronted up and played aggressively, especially in the first half and that was what got them the win.

Yamaha played their second final in a month after losing the Lixil Cup final to Panasonic Wild Knights earlier in the month and this time round there was no denying the Jubilo their glory.

All the scoring was done in the first forty minutes with centre Male Sau scoring the first try in the seventh minute and wing Shinji Nakazono the only other five pointer in the twenty-sixth minute. Fullback Ayumu Goromaru also contributed with a conversion and a penalty in the thirteenth minute while for Suntory, fly half Tusi Pisi scored their only points with a penalty in the twentieth minute.

Defence, determination and calm heads win big games and Yamaha showed their more fancied rivals how to do it. “We knew that to win, defence would be seventy percent of the effort.” Said winning captain Yuhimaru Mimura, and that is how things worked out.

The lion’s share of possession and territory was with Yamaha throughout the match meaning Suntory were left living off scraps when they could get them. The Sungoliath played the majority of the game at the wrong end of the park and this did not suit their style of rugby.

Suntory just could not take a trick and a high penalty count against kept them on the back foot. “We tried to attack, but our own errors and the strong defence denied us any shape.” A disappointed Suntory coach Naoya Okubo said. He went on to say “This was an unfortunate result, but over the 80 minutes the Yamaha defence was outstanding.”

For all intents and purposes, Suntory played their final against Panasonic in the semi-final and with week in week out rugby taking its toll, the Sungoliath looked tired. Clearly though, Yamaha were the hungrier and more efficient side and their historic win was well deserved.

Under sunny skies and mild winter conditions, Yamaha fullback Ayumu Goromaru kicked off the final giving Suntory first use of the ball. However, a knock on gave Yamaha an attacking scrum only for it to be free kicked for an early push.

A short exchange of kicks followed before Suntory continued with ball in hand. The approach drew a penalty giving the Sungoliath a lineout inside the Yamaha half. A penalty for not releasing relieved the pressure with Goromaru kicking Jubilo back into the Suntory half. A rolling maul followed the lineout followed by another penalty with Yamaha keeping up the pressure from yet another lineout. The risk paid off with inside centre Male Sau barging his way over for the first try of the final in the seventh minute. Goromaru added the extras to see Jubilo out to a 7-0 lead.

Yamaha maintained their dominance in possession and territory with another penalty in the 12th minute when the Suntory backs were caught offside. This gave Goromaru a long-range shot at goal and the Japan international made no mistake with the kick as the lead became 10-0.

Suntory had limited time with the ball over the first quarter of the match and to compound their woes, breakdown penalties denied them any rhythm. However, a penalty in front of the Yamaha posts on the twenty minute mark allowed Suntory fly half Tusi Pisi to step up to the mark to narrow the difference to 10-3.

Two minutes later, Yamaha turned down a very kickable penalty to go for touch in an attempt to take the game to Suntory. Halfback Fourie du Preez ended up turning over the ball and Suntory set about running the ball out of their own twenty-two. The attempt failed though, as the forwards were once again penalised at the breakdown. Yamaha once more turned down a shot at goal for a lineout with the rolling maul driving over the Suntory goal line only to be held up. From the 5-metre scrum, Yamaha span the ball left with left wing Shinji Nakazono having to work hard to get the ball down in the corner. The TMO was called into play with the try eventually awarded and although Goromaru could not add the extras from the sideline, Yamaha were out to a handy 15-3 lead by the half-hour mark.

The continuous penalties finally tested the patience of referee Akihisa Aso with du Preez sent to the sinbin in the thirty-second minute for yet another breakdown penalty. Yamaha continued to turn the screw with the extra man advantage, but the Suntory defence held firm. Over the closing stages of the opening half, Suntory had the chance to string some phases together with Pisi acting as halfback, but it came to nothing with the sides going to the break with Yamaha leading 15-3.

Pisi kicked off the second half with du Preez still on the sidelines with Suntory having ground to make up, though it was not long before the South African was back in the fray to even up the numbers. The Sungoliath maintained their ball-in-hand style of play, but the Yamaha defence and effort at the breakdown thwarted the Suntory attack early in the half.

Suntory were playing the game at the wrong end of the park, but the game turned when Goromaru was sent to the sinbin in the 11th minute for charging wing Yasunori Nagatomo in the air. This gave Suntory the opportunity to go on the offensive with the Yamaha ace out of the game for ten minutes.

The lion’s share of possession and territory for Yamaha meant Suntory were left living off scraps when they could get them as Jubilo ground down the clock while Goromaru was absent. By the time the fullback was back on the field, there was still no change to the halftime score and with less than twenty minutes remaining on the clock, Suntory had their work cut out getting on top of their determined opposition.

Defence, determination and calm heads win big games and Yamaha were showing their more fancied rivals how to do it. Suntory just could not take a trick and with the penalty count mounting and the clock clicking down the Sungoliath were ringing the changes on the bench in order to keep their title hopes alive.

Suntory played their final against Panasonic in the semi-final and with week in week out rugby the Sungoliath were looking tired. However, Yamaha were clearly the hungrier and more efficient side and their win was well deserved.

HSBC 7s 

HSBC Sevens World Series 2014-15

Round 6, Hong Kong Sevens

27-29 March 2015, Hong Kong Stadium, Hog Kong

In 2015, a total of 40 international teams across three competitions will mark 40 years of Sevens in Hong Kong. In addition to the HSBC Sevens World Series Core Team Competition for the 15 core teams and Belgium, the 12-team international series qualifier tournament and the 12-team Hong Kong Women’s Sevens competitions will take place.


Pool A

Pool B

Pool C

Pool D


New Zealand

South Africa














Pool C Games for Japan

Day 1: Friday, 27 March 2015

Match 2 (18:32): France v Japan

Day 2: Saturday, 28 March 2015

Match xx (12:18): South Africa v Japan

Match xx (15:36): Argentina v Japan

HSBC Sevens World Series

Round 7, Japan Sevens
4-5 April 2015, Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo

Round 8, Scotland Sevens
9-10 May 2015, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow

Round 9, England Sevens
16-17 May 2015, Twickenham Stadium, London

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