2008–09 Top League

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2008–09 Top League
Countries Japan Japan
Date 5 September 2008 - 18 January 2009
Champions Toshiba Brave Lupus

The 2008–09 Top League was the 6th 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.

Pre-season[edit]

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 Dynaboars.

Teams[edit]

Team Region
Coca Cola West Red Sparks Fukuoka, Kyushu
Fukuoka Sanix Blues Fukuoka, Kyushu
IBM Big Blue Chiba, Kanto
Kintetsu Liners Osaka, Kansai
Kobe Steel 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 season[edit]

Final standings[edit]

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

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

Fixtures and results[edit]

Title play-offs[edit]

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-finals[edit]




Final[edit]



Challenge series[edit]

Challenge 1[edit]

The top-placed regional teams from East Japan, West Japan, and Kyushu played each other in a round-robin tournament. The top two were automatically promoted, replacing the 13th and 14th teams that were automatically relegated. The third-placed team went through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against the 12th placed Top League team, with the winner of that game taking a Top League place.

Ricoh Black Rams, Honda Heat, and Mazda Blue Zoomers competed in Challenge 1.[1]


Final order: 1st-Ricoh, 2nd-Honda, 3rd-Mazda.

So Ricoh and Honda were promoted to the Top League for the following season. Mazda advanced to the promotion and relegation playoffs.

Challenge 2[edit]

The second-placed regional teams East Japan, West Japan, and Kyushu played each other in a round-robin tournament for the right to right to play the 11th placed Top League team, with the winner taking a Top League place.

Toyota Industries Shuttles, NTT Shining Arcs, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries competed in Challenge 2.[1]


Final order: 1st-Toyota Industries, 2nd-NTT, 3rd-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

So Toyota Industries advanced to the promotion and relegation playoffs.

Promotion and relegation play-offs[edit]

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.




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

Top 10 points scorers[edit]

Player Team Pts T C PG DG
1 David Hill Toshibabravelupus.png Toshiba Brave Lupus 226 11 60 17 0
2 Ryan Nicholas Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 158 5 41 17 0
3 Shane Drahm Kubotaspears.png Kubota Spears 136 1 16 31 2
4 Yasumasa Shigemitsu Kintetsuliners.png Kintetsu Liners 123 5 22 18 0
5 Thinus Delport Kobesteelers.png Kobe Steelers 122 4 18 22 0
6 Genki Saito Kyudenvoltex.png Kyuden Voltex 117 2 28 16 1
6 Tadanobu Ko IBMbigblue.png IBM Big Blue 117 2 22 20 1
8 Masakazu Irie Sanyowildknights.png Sanyo Wild Knights 114 3 33 11 0
9 Ayumu Goromaru Yamahajubilo.png Yamaha Jubilo 98 4 15 16 0
10 Daisuke Haradome Redsparkscolours.png 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 awards[edit]

Best fifteen[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Japan - Top League Challenge 2008/09". rugbyarchive.net. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]