2009–10 Top League

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2009–10 Top League
Countries Japan Japan
Date 4 September 2009 - 9 January 2010
Champions Toshiba Brave Lupus

The 2009–10 Top League was the 7th 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.

Changes[edit]

  • Honda Heat and Ricoh Black Rams were promoted to the Top League, replacing IBM Big Blue and Yokogawa Atlastars who were relegated.
  • Last seasons rule change of allowing three overseas players on the field at any one time was altered for the 2009-10 season, one of the three overseas players must have already represented Japan, be currently eligible to represent Japan or eligible to represent Japan in the future.
  • Teams are allowed to field one player from the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) outside the above restrictions on overseas players. That Asian player may have represented another country at Test, A or Sevens levels as long as that country is a Union member of the ARFU.
  • Last season the top six finishers automatically qualified for the National Championship, however this season the top four qualify, with the teams that finish 5th to 10th playing off for the remaining two Top League qualifiers.

Teams[edit]

Team Region Season
Coca Cola West Red Sparks Fukuoka, Kyushu 4
Fukuoka Sanix Blues Fukuoka, Kyushu 6
Honda Heat Suzuka, Mie 1
Kintetsu Liners Osaka, Kansai 4
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers Hyogo, Kansai 7
Kubota Spears Chiba, Kanto 7
Kyuden Voltex Fukuoka, Kyushu 3
NEC Green Rockets Chiba, Kanto 7
Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo, Kanto 6
Sanyo Wild Knights Gunma, Kanto 7
Suntory Sungoliath Tokyo, Kanto 7
Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo, Kanto 7
Toyota Verblitz Aichi, Tokai 6
Yamaha Jubilo Shizuoka, Tokai 7

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 Sanyowildknights.png Sanyo Wild Knights 13 12 1 0 534 175 +359 59
2 Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 13 11 2 0 570 195 +375 58
3 Toshibabravelupus.png Toshiba Brave Lupus 13 10 0 3 436 276 +160 52
4 Toyotaverblitz.png Toyota Verblitz 13 10 1 2 394 219 +175 48
5 Kobesteelers.png Kobe Steelers 13 7 1 5 343 303 +40 38
6 Kubotaspears.png Kubota Spears 13 6 0 7 313 339 −26 31
7 Fukuokasanixblues.png Fukuoka Sanix Blues 13 6 0 7 311 371 −60 31
8 Redsparkscolours.png Coca Cola Red Sparks 13 7 0 6 299 448 −149 31
9 Yamahajubilo.png Yamaha Jubilo 13 5 2 6 311 327 −14 30
10 NECgreenrockets.png NEC Green Rockets 13 4 0 9 224 280 −56 25
11 Kintetsuliners.png Kintetsu Liners 13 4 1 8 218 348 −130 23
12 Ricohblackrams.png Ricoh Black Rams 13 4 0 9 262 422 −160 19
13 Hondaheat.png Honda Heat 13 1 0 12 255 464 −209 10
14 Kyudenvoltex.png Kyuden Voltex 13 0 0 13 199 502 −303 4

 • The top 4 teams qualified to the title play-offs.
 • The top 4 teams also qualified for entry into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 5 to 10 qualified to the wildcard play-offs 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 to the regional leagues for 2010–11.

Source:rugbyarchive.net

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]

Round 1[edit]









Round 2[edit]









Title play-offs[edit]

Top 4 sides of the regular season competed in the Microsoft Cup (2010) knock out tournament to fight for the Top League title. The top 4 teams of 2009–10 were Toshiba Brave Lupus, Sanyo Wild Knights, Toyota Verblitz and Suntory Sungoliath.

Semi-finals[edit]




Final[edit]



Wildcard play-offs[edit]

The two second round winners qualified for the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

First round[edit]

The Top League teams ranked 7th and 10th played-off for the right to meet the Top League team ranked 5th in the second round. The Top League teams ranked 8th and 9th played-off for the right to meet the Top League team ranked 6th in the second round.


So Coca-Cola and NEC progressed to the second round.

Second round[edit]

The Top League team ranked 5th played-off against the winner of the teams ranked 7th and 10th, and the Top League team ranked 6th played-off against the winner of the teams ranked 8th and 9th. The two winning second round teams advanced to the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.


So Kobe and NEC advanced to the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

Challenge series[edit]

Challenge 1[edit]

The top-placed regional teams from East Japan, West Japan, played each other in a round-robin tournament. The 1st and 2nd ranked teams were automatically promoted to the 2010–11 Top League, replacing the Top League teams ranked 13th and 14th, that were automatically relegated. The team ranked 3rd went through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against the Top League teams ranked 12th.

NTT Shining Arcs, Toyota Industries Shuttles, and Mazda Blue Zoomers competed in Challenge 1.[1]


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

So NTT and Toyota Industries 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.

Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars, NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, and Chugoku Electric Power Rugby Club competed in Challenge 2.[1]


Final order: 1st-Yokogawa Musashino, 2nd-NTT Docomo, 3rd-Chugoku Electric Power.

So Yokogawa Musashino advanced to the promotion and relegation playoffs.

Promotion and relegation play-offs[edit]

Two promotion/relegation matches (Irekaesen) were played. The Top League team ranked 12th played-off against the Challenge 1 team ranked 3rd, and the Top League team ranked 11th played-off against the Challenge 2 team ranked 1st. The winners were included in the Top League for the following season.




So Kintetsu and Ricoh remained in the Top League for the following season.

Top Ten Points Scorers[edit]

Player Team Pts T C PG DG
1 Atsushi Tanabe Sanyowildknights.png Sanyo Wild Knights 191 4 48 25 0
2 Ryan Nicholas Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 173 6 46 17 0
3 Shaun Webb Redsparkscolours.png Coca Cola West Red Sparks 150 2 28 16 7
4 Shane Drahm Kubotaspears.png Kubota Spears 135 2 28 16 7
5 David Hill Toshibabravelupus.png Toshiba Brave Lupus 122 4 39 8 0
6 Ayumu Goromaru Yamahajubilo.png Yamaha Jubilo 111 0 27 19 0
7 Yoshimitsu Kawano Ricohblackrams.png Ricoh Black Rams 102 1 23 15 2
8 Orene Aii Toyotaverblitz.png Toyota Verblitz 80 4 21 5 1
9 Hirotoki Onozawa Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 70 14 0 0 0
10 Tomoki Kitagawa Sanyowildknights.png Sanyo Wild Knights 80 4 21 5 1

Table notes

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

End of season awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Japan - Top League Challenge 2009/10". rugbyarchive.net. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]