Japan Rugby League One 2022-2023: Round 5 Preview
The JRLO Round 5 matches get underway from January 21-22 2023 across Japan with action in all three divisions of top-flight Japanese rugby.
For brief highlights from all matches in JRLO round, please visit here
JRLO Division 1 – Round 5
Saturday 21 January 2023
All times shown are Japan Time (JT)
Yokohama Canon Eagles vs NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu at Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium, Kanagawa, 12pm
Yokohama Canon Eagles dispatched Hanazono Kintetsu Liners last weekend, with Faf de Klerk at the centre of everything the side created. Eagles skipper Yusuke Kajimura says that his side didn’t “chase” points against the league’s bottom club, and they will look to topple the Green Rockets who are two places above Kintetsu on the ladder. The Rockets have lost their last three games too.
De Klerk moved to the bench, and Brave Blossoms pivot Yu Tamura will start at flyhalf.
Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo vs Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights at Komazawa Olympic Park Stadium, Tokyo, 1pm
The Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights will be missing inside centre Damien de Allende who is on his second week of paternity leave when they travel to Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo on Saturday with Ricoh having won two wins on the bounce coming into this match.
Wales international Hadleigh Parkes faces his former club for the first time as the Ricoh Black Rams chase a hattrick of wins against unbeaten Saitama and Parkes will be up against 23-year-old Tomoki Osada, who Robbie Deans has handed a Japan Rugby League One debut.
The midfield is packed with talent as Marika Koroibete, the Wallaby winger will be keen to impress the new Australian coach Eddie Jones.
Coach Peter Hewat and his team Ricoh will face three of the current top four, as well as the fifth-placed Yokohama Canon Eagles over the upcoming weeks so they will need the win to get some momentum into a tough fixture list
Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay vs Kobelco Kobe Steelers at Edogawa Athletic Stadium, Tokyo, 2.30pm
Both sides are among the most free-scoring teams in the JRLO, between them, Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay (first) and Kobelco Kobe Steelers (third), have scored 325 points.
Malcolm Marx returns to action and will play against the Kobelco Kobe Steelers for the Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay in Kanagawa on Saturday. The Springbok’s absence last week didn’t stop his side from beating Michael Cheika’s NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu and the Spears moved into second place on the Division 1 log. Kubota winger Haruto Kida has scored in his last six JRLO matches, and former Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley starts this weekend.
The side also features All Black Ryan Crotty, and former Brave Blossoms skipper Pieter ‘Lappies’ Labuschagne.
Kobe is without All Black Ngane Laumape due to injury and former Super Rugby Highlanders’ midfielder Richard Buckman, steps in. Coach Nick Holten has moved Ataata Moeakiola to the wing, after playing backrow in the first four matches.
January 17 marked the 28th anniversary of the Kobe earthquake and the tragedy was commemorated by the club last weekend.
Sunday 22 January 2023
Hanazono Kintetsu Liners vs Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka, 12pm
Hanazono Kintetsu Liners have leaked 70 plus points in each of their last two outings, and second division champions from last season need to get to grips with the top flight, fast.
Skipper Will Genia said last weekend’s defeat was due to individual mistakes and a lack of physicality.
Sungoliath head to Osaka off the back of a good win over Kobelco Steelers to make it three wins in a row. Team adviser Eddie Jones was announced as Wallaby coach and there are a fair few Wallabys in the squad including the injured Samu Kerevi, second-row Harry Hockings, and ex-Wallaby backrower Sean McMahon.
Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo vs Toyota Verblitz at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, 2pm
Both sides lost their matches last weekend and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo now sit 6th, while Verblitzare are ninth on the table.
Former Crusaders assistant and Canterbury coach Steve Hansen (Verblitz Director of Rugby) goes up against his one-time Canterbury captain from New Zealand’s national provincial championship, Crusaders legend Todd Blackadder.
Michael Leitch received a yellow card for an alleged punch last week, and his side Brave Lupus suffered an 8-3 penalty count against them.
Toyota could be without inspiration backrower Kazuki Himeno due to injury.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sangamirha Dyanaboars vs Shizuoka Blue Revs at Sagamihara Gion Stadium, Kanagawa, 2.30pm
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars achieved their first win over five-time Top League champions, Toshiba Brave Lupus last week and Kiwi coach Glenn Delaney was pleased with how his side fought back after a slow start last weekend.
Captain Kwagga Smith is playing well for the Blue Revs but they fell short last week against Ricoh. The team needs improved discipline as fullback Keagen Faria received a yellow (intentional knock-on) and then a red card (high tackle) last weekend.
JRLO Division 2 – Round 4
Undefeated Urayasu D-Rocks travel to Hino Red Dolphins while Mie Honda Heat plays bottom club Shimizu Corporation Koto Blue Sharks with the internationals Tom Banks (Australia), Pablo Matera (Argentina) and Franco Mostert (South Africa) all in the visitor’s starting XV.
D-Rocks look like title contenders and Johan Ackermann’s star-studded team will look to dispatch of fourth-placed Hino Red Dolphins.
The Shimizu Corporation Koto Blue Sharks are without a win this season and lost by 22 points to the Kamaishi Seawaves last time out.
Saturday 21 January 2023
- Honda Heat vs Hino Red Dolphins vs Urayasu D-Rocks at Tokyo, 12pm
- Shimizu Koto Blue Sharks vs Honda Heat at Tokyo, 2.30pm
JRLO Division 3 – Round 4
Hiroshima is host to the only match in Division Three when second-placed Kyushudenryoku Kyuden Voltex play the league’s second-place team, the Kyushudenryoku Kyuden Voltex, at Mazda Skyactives Hiroshima.
The Skyactives, are yet to win this season, while the visitors come into the picture with a three-win/one-loss record, and had a bye last week. The team includes Brumbies Super Rugby flanker Colby Fainga’a and Scotland international Phil Burleigh, who hope to help beat the hosts on Sunday.
Sunday 22 January 2023
- Mazda Skyactives Hiroshima vs v Kyushudenryoku Kyuden Voltex at at Hiroshima, 1pm
JRLO Rugby News
- Japan Rugby League One 2022-2023: Round 4 Preview.
- Japan Rugby League One 2022-2023: Round 2 Preview.
- Japan Rugby League One 2022-2023: Round 1 Preview.
- Japan Rugby League One 2023 Season Preview.