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The 2019-2020 Japan Rugby Top League season kicked off Sunday with a plethora of world superstars and Rugby World Cup winners playing in front of big crowds across the nation.
The season was pushed back five months to accommodate last year’s World Cup and will run until May, with the team atop the standings after 15 games crowned champion.
Toshiba Brave Lupus claimed bragging rights for the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu by beating local rivals Suntory Sungoliath 26-19 in front of 21,564 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.
Suntory, which had Masakatsu Nishikawa red carded in the first half for a dangerous clear-out at a ruck, stayed in the game thanks to two try-saving tackles from Wallabies center Samu Kerevi.
But tries by Hisayoshi Matsuoka and Masataka Mikami in the 61st and 70th minutes broke the deadlock and ensured Kerevi’s 76th-minute effort was nothing more than a consolation score.
“The players worked hard in the preseason and it showed today,” said new Toshiba coach Todd Blackadder.
The former All Blacks player had special praise for Japan captain Michael Leitch, who
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