2008–09 Top League

The 2008–09 Top League was the sixth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Toshiba Brave Lupus defeated Sanyo Wild Knights by 17–6 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim the 2008–09 Top League championship.

2008–09 Top League
Flickr - tpower1978 - Microsoft Cup (1).jpg
Toshiba playing Sanyo for the 2009 Microsoft Cup.
CountriesJapan Japan
Date5 September 2008 - 18 January 2009
ChampionsToshiba Brave Lupus (4th title)
Runners-upSanyo Wild Knights

The Top League is a semi-professional competition which is at the top of the national league system in Japan, with promotion and relegation between the next level down.

PreseasonEdit

Kintetsu Liners returned to the league, and Yokogawa Denki were promoted for the first time (and renamed Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars in the off season). They replaced Ricoh Black Rams and Mitsubishi Sagamihara DynaBoars.

TeamsEdit

Team Region
Coca-Cola West Red Sparks Fukuoka, Kyushu
Fukuoka Sanix Blues Fukuoka, Kyushu
IBM Big Blue Chiba, Kanto
Kintetsu Liners Osaka, Kansai
Kobelco Steelers Hyogo, Kansai
Kubota Spears Chiba, Kanto
Kyuden Voltex Fukuoka, Kyushu
NEC Green Rockets Chiba, Kanto
Sanyo Wild Knights Gunma, Kanto
Suntory Sungoliath Tokyo, Kanto
Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo, Kanto
Toyota Verblitz Aichi, Tokai
Yamaha Jubilo Shizuoka, Tokai
Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars Tokyo, Kanto

Regular seasonEdit

Final standingsEdit

Top League Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1   Toshiba Brave Lupus 13 12 0 1 563 211 +352 11 0 59
2   Sanyo Wild Knights 13 12 0 1 584 197 +387 10 0 58
3   Suntory Sungoliath 13 10 0 3 482 298 +184 10 1 51
4   Kobelco Steelers 13 9 0 4 358 300 +58 5 2 43
5   NEC Green Rockets 13 8 0 5 298 309 −11 4 1 37
6   Kubota Spears 13 8 0 5 309 334 −25 4 1 37
7   Yamaha Jubilo 13 7 0 6 344 304 +40 6 1 35
8   Toyota Verblitz 13 6 0 7 310 286 +24 4 3 31
9   Kintetsu Liners 13 5 0 8 319 348 −29 6 2 28
10   Coca-Cola West Red Sparks 13 6 0 7 273 353 −80 1 1 26
11   Fukuoka Sanix Blues 13 3 0 10 266 442 −176 5 4 21
12   Kyuden Voltex 13 3 0 10 345 451 −106 4 2 18
13   IBM Big Blue 13 1 0 12 222 496 −274 1 3 8
14   Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars 13 1 0 12 230 574 −344 4 0 8

 • The top 4 teams qualified for the title play-offs.
 • The top 6 teams also qualified for entry into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 11 and 12 went through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against regional challengers.     
 • Teams 13 and 14 were automatically relegated.

[1]

Four points for a win, two for a draw, one bonus point for four tries or more (BP1) and one bonus point for losing by seven or less (BP2).
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
 • Difference between points for and against
 • Total number of points for
 • Number of matches won
 • Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
 • Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled

Fixtures and resultsEdit

Title play-offsEdit

Top 4 sides of the regular season competed in the Microsoft Cup (2009) knock out tournament to fight for the Top League title. The top 4 teams of 2008–09 were Toshiba Brave Lupus, Sanyo Wild Knights, Kobe Steelers and Suntory Sungoliath.

Semi-finalsEdit


1 February 2009 Toshiba Brave Lupus 26–7 Kobelco Steelers  
14:00

1 February 2009 Sanyo Wild Knights 32–22 Suntory Sungoliath  
14:00

FinalEdit


8 February 2009 Toshiba Brave Lupus 17–6 Sanyo Wild Knights Chichibunomiya, Tokyo  
14:00 Report[2] Attendance: 17,000

Top League Challenge SeriesEdit

Honda Heat and Ricoh Black Rams won promotion to the 2009–10 Top League via the 2009 Top League Challenge Series, while Mazda Blue Zoomers and Toyota Industries Shuttles progressed to the promotion play-offs.

Promotion and relegation play-offsEdit

Two promotion/relegation matches (Irekaesen) were played with the winners qualifying for the Top League in the next season. The 12th-placed team from the Top League against the 3rd-placed team from Challenge 1. The 11th-placed team from the Top League against the 1st-placed team from Challenge 2.


14 February 2009 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 38–22 Toyota Industries Shuttles  
14:00

14 February 2009 Kyuden Voltex 31–10 Mazda Blue Zoomers  
14:00

So Sanix and Kyuden stayed in the Top League for the following season.

Top 10 points scorersEdit

Player Team Pts T C PG DG
1 David Hill   Toshiba Brave Lupus 226 11 60 17 0
2 Ryan Nicholas   Suntory Sungoliath 158 5 41 17 0
3 Shane Drahm   Kubota Spears 136 1 16 31 2
4 Yasumasa Shigemitsu   Kintetsu Liners 123 5 22 18 0
5 Thinus Delport   Kobelco Steelers 122 4 18 22 0
6 Genki Saito   Kyuden Voltex 117 2 28 16 1
6 Tadanobu Ko   IBM Big Blue 117 2 22 20 1
8 Masakazu Irie   Sanyo Wild Knights 114 3 33 11 0
9 Ayumu Goromaru   Yamaha Jubilo 98 4 15 16 0
10 Daisuke Haradome   Coca-Cola West Red Sparks 88 4 16 12 0

Table notes

  • Pts = Points scored
  • T = Tries
  • C = Conversions
  • PG = Penalty Goals
  • DG = Drop Goals

End-of-season awardsEdit

Best fifteenEdit

Position Name Team
1 PR Hisateru Nirashima   Kobelco Steelers
2 HO Yusuke Aoki   Suntory Sungoliath
3 PR Kensuke Hatakeyama   Suntory Sungoliath
4 LO Hitoshi Ono   Toshiba Brave Lupus
5 LO Daniel Heenan   Sanyo Wild Knights
6 FL Steven Bates   Toshiba Brave Lupus
7 FL Reuben Thorne   Yamaha Jubilo
8 No.8 Ryukoliniasi Holani   Sanyo Wild Knights
9 SH Fumiaki Tanaka   Sanyo Wild Knights
10 SO David Hill   Toshiba Brave Lupus
11 WTB Hirotoki Onozawa   Suntory Sungoliath
12 CTB Ryan Nicholas   Suntory Sungoliath
13 CTB Seiichi Shimonura   Sanyo Wild Knights
14 WTB Tomoki Kitagawa   Sanyo Wild Knights
15 FB Hiroki Yoshida   Toshiba Brave Lupus

Table Notes

  • PR = Prop
  • HO = Hooker
  • LO = Lock
  • FL = Flanker
  • SH = Scrum Half
  • SO = Stand Off
  • CTB = Centre Three Quarter Back
  • WTB = Wing THree Quarter Back
  • FB = Full back

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2008/09 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  2. ^ "Scandal clouds Toshiba's victory in Microsoft Cup". Japan Times. 9 February 2009. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2016.

External linksEdit