2007–08 Top League

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2007–08 Top League
Countries Japan Japan
Date 26 October 2007 - 9 February 2008
Champions Suntory Sungoliath

The 2007–08 Top League was the 5th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League.

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.

Sanyo Wild Knights became the first ever team in the Top League to win all their league games, but were defeated for the Top League title by Suntory Sungoliath 14-10 in the Microsoft Cup final on February 24, 2008 at Chichibunomiya.

Changes[edit]

Kyuden Voltex and Mitsubishi Dynaboars joined the league for the first time.

Foreign referees such as George Ayoub, who was voted "Best Whistle" at the end of the 2007–08 season, refereed some of the games which were played throughout Japan as a deliberate policy to encourage interest in the game nationwide. Also the first game was played under the new lights at Chichibunomiya. The season's catch phrase was "For All".

On February 3, 2008 there was snow in Tokyo which prevented the last two games at Chichibunomiya being played on that day. This was the first time in five seasons that bad weather had caused a Top League game to be postponed. The games were postponed to Saturday, February 9 at the same ground.

Participating teams[edit]

There were 14 teams in the League, given in alphabetical order with their geographical location by prefecture, as follows:

Regular season[edit]

Table[edit]

Top League Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Sanyowildknights.png Sanyo Wild Knights 13 13 0 0 593 170 +423 63
2 Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 13 10 1 2 453 229 +224 53
3 Toyotaverblitz.png Toyota Verblitz 13 9 1 3 452 269 +183 50
4 Toshibabravelupus.png Toshiba Brave Lupus 13 10 1 2 398 263 +135 47
5 Kobesteelers.png Kobe Steelers 13 9 0 4 377 348 +29 46
6 NECgreenrockets.png NEC Green Rockets 13 9 0 4 358 284 +74 42
7 Yamahajubilo.png Yamaha Jubilo 13 7 0 6 409 258 +151 37
8 Kubotaspears.png Kubota Spears 13 5 0 8 265 262 +3 26
9 Redsparkscolours.png Coca Cola Red Sparks 13 5 0 8 287 352 −65 25
10 Kyudenvoltex.png Kyuden Voltex 13 4 0 9 266 408 −142 21
11 IBMbigblue.png IBM Big Blue 13 3 0 10 256 359 −103 20
12 Fukuokasanixblues.png Fukuoka Sanix Blues 13 4 0 9 180 382 −202 19
13 Ricohblackrams.png Ricoh Black Rams 13 3 0 10 217 399 −182 17
14 Mitsubishidynaboars.png Mitsubishi Dynaboars 13 0 0 13 182 710 −528 3

 • The top 4 teams qualified for the title play-offs.
 • The top 4 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.

Source:The Rugby Archive

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

League games[edit]

(including kick-off times according to the local Japan Standard Time)

1st round[edit]

The first round began on Friday October 26, 2007 with Toshiba Brave Lupus playing Suntory Sungoliath under lights at Chichibunomiya in a repeat of the previous year's final. But this time Suntory gained revenge with a 10-3 win, the first one for Suntory after a string of seven successive losses stretching back to 2003.

Oct 26 (Fri):
19.30 Toshiba Brave Lupus 3 Suntory Sungoliath 10 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo);

Oct 27 (Sat):
13.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 19 Kubota Spears 6 (Ota city sports and athletics stadium, Gunma prefecture);
14.00 Yamaha Jubilo 26 Toyota Verblitz 20 (Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka prefecture);
19.00 Ricoh Black Rams 9 IBM Big Blue 3 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo);

Oct 28 (Sun):
12.00 Kyuden Voltex 37 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 15 (Hakata no mori, Fukuoka prefecture);
13.00 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 36 NEC Green Rockets 21 (Hanazono, Osaka prefecture);
14.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 17 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 13 (Hakata no mori)

2nd round[edit]

Nov 3 (Sat)

12.00 Yamaha Jubilo 19 NEC Green Rockets 23 (Mizuho rugby stadium, Mizuho ward, Nagoya city, Aichi prefecture)
12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 25 Kubota Spears 13 (Hanazono, Osaka prefecture)
14.00 Toyota Verblitz 59 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 10 (Mizuho rugby stadium, Aichi prefecture)
14.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 72 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 5 (Hanazono, Osaka prefecture)

Nov 4 (Sun)

12.00 IBM Big Blue 13 Suntory Sungoliath 52 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo)
14.00 Toshiba Brave Lupus 40 Ricoh Black Rams 24 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo)
14.00 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 33 Kyuden Voltex 31 (Nishi-Kyōgoku sports park, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture)

3rd round[edit]

Nov 10 (Sat)

12.00 NEC Green Rockets 38 Kyuden Voltex 22 (Morioka Minami Koen, Iwate prefecture)
12.00 Suntory Sungoliath 22 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 23 (Hanazono, Osaka prefecture)
14.00 Ricoh Black Rams 10 Sanyo Wild Knights 39 (Morioka Minami Stadium, Iwate prefecture)
14.00 Toyota Verblitz 37 IBM Big Blue 30 (Mizuho rugby stadium, Aichi prefecture)
14.00 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 54 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 7 (Hanazono, Osaka prefecture)
17.00 Kubota Spears 7 Yamaha Jubilo 14 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo)
19.00 Toshiba Brave Lupus 28 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 12 (Chichibunomiya, Tokyo)

4th round[edit]

Nov 17 (Sat)

14.00 Kubota Spears 21 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 28 (Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium, Niigata prefecture)
14.00 Ricoh Black Rams 22 Suntory Sungoliath 43 (Mitsuzawa Stadium, Kanagawa prefecture)
14.00 Kyuden Voltex 22 Toyota Verblitz 27 (Pocari Sweat stadium, Otsuka sports park, Naruto, Tokushima prefecture)

Nov 18 (Sun)

12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 16 Toshiba Brave Lupus 43 (Ikime no Mori Ivy Stadium, Miyazaki, Miyazaki prefecture)
13.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 57 IBM Big Blue 21 (Ota city, Gunma prefecture)
13.00 NEC Green Rockets 57 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 34 (Kashiwa no Ha Park Stadium, Kashiwa, Chiba prefecture)
14.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 7 Yamaha Jubilo 5 (Ikime no Mori Ivy Stadium, Miyazaki, Miyazaki prefecture)

5th round[edit]

Dec 1 (Sat)

12.00 IBM Big Blue 23 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 12 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Suntory Sungoliath 50 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 10 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Toyota Verblitz 61 Ricoh Black Rams 20 (Kochi Haruno Stadium, Kochi prefecture)

Dec 2 (Sun)

12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 18 Yamaha Jubilo 39 (Kagoshima Kamoike Stadium, Kagoshima prefecture)
13.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 57 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 24 (Momotaro Stadium, Okayama prefecture)
14.00 Kubota Spears 11 NEC Green Rockets 13 (Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture)
14.00 Kyuden Voltex 19 Toshiba Brave Lupus 34 (Kagoshima Kamoike Stadium, Kagoshima prefecture)

6th round[edit]

Dec 8 (Sat)

12.00 Kubota Spears 30 Ricoh Black Rams 14 (Chichibunomiya)
12.00 IBM Big Blue 17 Yamaha Jubilo 39 (Hanazono)
14.00 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 26 Toshiba Brave Lupus 59 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 27 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 16 (Hanazono)

Dec 9 (Sat)

12.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 0 NEC Green Rockets 45 (KKWing Stadium, Kumamoto prefecture)
13.00 Toyota Verblitz 25 Sanyo Wild Knights 26 (Kose Sports Stadium, Yamanashi prefecture)
14.00 Kyuden Voltex 23 Suntory Sungoliath 61 (KKWing Stadium, Kumamoto prefecture)

7th round[edit]

Dec 15 (Sat)

12.00 Ricoh Black Rams 7 NEC Green Rockets 33 (Chichibunomiya)
13.00 Toyota Verblitz 15 Kubota Spears 19 (Ojiyama Stadium, Shiga prefecture)
13.00 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 14 Suntory Sungoliath 31 (Home's Stadium Kobe, Kobe)
14.00 Kyuden Voltex 22 Yamaha Jubilo 47 (Chichibunomiya)

Dec 16 (Sun)

12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 13 IBM Big Blue 10 (Kakidomari Stadium, Nagasaki city)
13.00 Toshiba Brave Lupus 0 Sanyo Wild Knights 41 (Tochigi Green Stadium, Tochigi prefecture)
14.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 17 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 10 (Kakidomari Stadium, Nagasaki)

8th round[edit]

Dec 22 (Sat)

13.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 35 Suntory Sungoliath 24 (Ota city, Gunma prefecture)
13.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 13 Toyota Verblitz 20 (Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture)
14.00 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 14 Kubota Spears 64 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Toshiba Brave Lupus 36 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 17 (Ajinomoto stadium, Tokyo)
14.00 Yamaha Jubilo 58 Ricoh Black Rams 3 (Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka)
14.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 16 Kyuden Voltex 20 (Hakata no Mori, Fukuoka prefecture)

Dec 24 (Mon)

13.00 IBM Big Blue 14 NEC Green Rockets 21 (Fukuda Denshi Arena, Chiba prefecture)

9th round[edit]

January 5 (Sat)

12.00 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 15 Ricoh Black Rams 39 (Chichibunomiya)
12.00 Kyuden Voltex 10 IBM Big Blue 26 (Hakata no Mori, Fukuoka prefecture)
14.00 Suntory Sungoliath 50 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 26 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Yamaha Jubilo 28 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 31 (Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka)
14.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 19 Sanyo Wild Knights 55 (Hakata no Mori, Fukuoka prefecture)

January 6 (Sun)

12.00 NEC Green Rockets 24 Toyota Verblitz 40 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Toshiba Brave Lupus 33 Kubota Spears 17 (Chichibunomiya)

10th round[edit]

January 13 (Sun)

12.00 IBM Big Blue 8 Toshiba Brave Lupus 45 (Chichibunomiya)
13.00 NEC Green Rockets 8 Suntory Sungoliath 19 (Kashiwa no Ha Park Stadium, Kashiwa, Chiba prefecture)
13.00 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 7 Toyota Verblitz 45 (Home's Stadium Kobe, Kobe)
14.00 Ricoh Black Rams 6 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 10 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Yamaha Jubilo 96 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 0 (Gifu prefecture)

January 14 (Mon)

12.00 Kubota Spears 17 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 33 (Hanazono)
14.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 52 Kyuden Voltex 7 (Hanazono)

11th round[edit]

January 19 (Sat)

12.00 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 17 IBM Big Blue 45 (Chichibunomiya)
13.00 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 26 Ricoh Black Rams 17 (Home's Stadium Kobe, Kobe)
14.00 NEC Green Rockets 33 Toshiba Brave Lupus 21 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Toyota Verblitz 53 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 24 (Toyota Stadium, Aichi prefecture)

Sanix v Kyuden, a local derby at Global Arena, Round 11, January 20, 2008

January 20 (Sun)

13.00 Sanyo Wild Knights 40 Yamaha Jubilo 10 (Ota city, Gunma prefecture)
13.00 Suntory Sungoliath 24 Kubota Spears 14 (Hanazono)
13.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 5 Kyuden Voltex 13 (Global Arena, Munakata, Fukuoka prefecture)

12th round[edit]

January 26 (Sat)

12.00 Ricoh Black Rams 17 Kyuden Voltex 20 (Chichibunomiya)
12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 27 NEC Green Rockets 35 (Hanazono)
14.00 Suntory Sungoliath 31 Yamaha Jubilo 7 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Toyota Verblitz 19 Toshiba Brave Lupus 17 (Hanazono)

January 27 (Sun)

12.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 12 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 52 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 12 Sanyo Wild Knights 66 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Kubota Spears 19 Nihon IBM Big Blue 10 (Kumagaya prefectural rugby ground, Saitama)

13th round[edit]

February 2 (Sat)

12.00 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 67 Mitsubishi Dynaboars 12 (Hakata no Mori)
14.00 Yamaha Jubilo 21 Toshiba Brave Lupus 39 (Yamaha Stadium)
14.00 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 21 Ricoh Black Rams 29 (Hakata no Mori)

February 3 (Sun)

12.00 NEC Green Rockets v Sanyo Wild Knights POSTPONED - SNOW (Chichibunomiya)
12.00 Kubota Spears 27 Kyuden Voltex 20 (Hanazono)
14.00 Suntory Sungoliath v Toyota Verblitz POSTPONED - SNOW (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Kobe Kobelco Steelers 28 Nihon IBM Big Blue 26 (Hanazono)

February 9 (Sat)

12.00 NEC Green Rockets 7 Sanyo Wild Knights 34 (Chichibunomiya)
14.00 Suntory Sungoliath 31 Toyota Verblitz 31 (Chichibunomiya)

Title play-offs[edit]

The top four teams at the end of the season played in the fifth Microsoft Cup (2008) which consisted of two semi-finals and a final.

Semi-finals[edit]




Final[edit]



Cup Final MVP: Hirotoki Onozawa

Challenge series[edit]

The 1st and 2nd teams from Challenge 1, Kintetsu Liners and Yokogawa Denki respectively, replaced the 13th and 14th teams from the Top league, Ricoh Black Rams and Mitsubishi Dynaboars respectively, who were automatically relegated.

The top team in Challenge 1, Kintetsu Liners, also earned a place in the first round of the 45th All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

Challenge 1[edit]





Final order: 1st-Kintetsu, 2nd- Yokogawa Denki, 3rd-Mazda

Challenge 2[edit]





Final order: 1st - World, 2nd - Secom, 3rd - Chugoku Denryoku

Promotion and relegation play-offs[edit]

The 11th placed team, IBM Big Blue, played the winner of Challenge 2, World Fighting Bull). The 12th placed team, Fukuoka Sanix Blues, played the third placed team of Challenge 1, Mazda Blue Zoomers. The winners of these two play-offs, or Irekaesen, progressed to the Top League for the next season.




So IBM and Sanix remained in the Top League for the next season.

End of season awards[edit]

Team awards[edit]

Winner: Suntory Sungoliath
2nd: Sanyo Wild Knights
3rd: Toshiba Brave Lupus
Fair Play: Kyuden Voltex
Best Fan Service: Kobe Kobelco Steelers

Best fifteen[edit]

1 Prop Tatsukichi Nishiura (Coca Cola West Red Sparks)
2 Hooker Mitsugu Yamamoto (Sanyo Wild Knights)
3 Prop Tomokazu Soma (Sanyo Wild Knights)
4 Lock Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba Brave Lupus)
5 Lock Tomoaki Taniguchi (Toyota Verblitz)
6 Flanker Semisi Saukawa (NEC Green Rockets)
7 Flanker Philip O'Reilly (Sanyo Wild Knights)
8 No. 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Sanyo Wild Knights)
9 Scrum Half Fumiaki Tanaka (Sanyo Wild Knights)
10 Stand Off Tony Brown (Sanyo Wild Knights)
11 Wing Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory Sungoliath)
12 Centre Shotaro Onishi (Yamaha Jubilo)
13 Centre Seiichi Shimomura (Sanyo Wild Knights)
14 Wing Tomoki Kitagawa (Sanyo Wild Knights)
15 Full Back Atsushi Tanabe (Sanyo Wild Knights)

Top League MVP: Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory Sungoliath)
Microsoft Cup Final MVP: Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory Sungoliath)
Top League Rookie Award: Fumiaki Tanaka (Sanyo Wild Knights)
Top League Top Try Scorer: Tomoki Kitagawa (Sanyo Wild Knights)
Top League Top Points Scorer: Shotaro Onishi (Yamaha Jubilo)
Top League Best Kicker: Shotaro Onishi (Yamaha Jubilo)
Top League Special Award: Masato Toyoda (Toyota Verblitz)
Top League Best Whistle: George Ayoub (Australian Rugby Union)

See Top League awards for further details.

Other details[edit]

Top Try scorers: Tomoki Kitagawa (Sanyo) 14; Hirotoki Onozawa (Suntory) 13; Keita Katsumata (IBM) 10; Jaco van der Westhuyzen (NEC) 9; Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Sanyo) 9

Top Points scorers: Shotaro Onishi (Yamaha) 139; Hiroki Yoshida (Toshiba) 138; Tony Brown (Sanyo) 137; Hiroki Mizuno (Toyota) 100; Takeshi Matsuo (NEC) 96

Relegated Teams: Mitsubishi Dynaboars, Ricoh Black Rams

Promoted Teams: Kintetsu Liners, Yokogawa Denki

See also[edit]

Other similar competitions[edit]

External links[edit]