2013–14 Top League

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2013–14 Top League
Countries Japan Japan
Date 30 August 2013 – 9 February 2014
Champions Panasonic Wild Knights
Runners-up Suntory Sungoliath
Top point scorer Japan Ryan Nicholas (Suntory Sungoliath)
Top try scorer 17 – South Africa Jaque Fourie (Kobe Kobelco Steelers)

The 2013–14 Top League was the 11th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 30 August 2013. The final was held on 9 February 2014 and won by Panasonic Wild Knights.[1]

Teams[edit]

The Top League expanded from 14 to 16 teams for the 2013–14 season.[2]

Team Region Coach Captain
Canon Eagles Machida, Tokyo, Kantō Japan Yoji Nagatomo Japan Taku Wada
Coca Cola West Red Sparks Fukuoka, Kyushu Japan Shogo Mukai Japan Masakazu Toyota
Kintetsu Liners Higashiosaka, Osaka, Kansai Japan Ryusuke Maeda Japan Haruki Ota
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers Kobe, Kansai Japan Seiji Hirao Japan Daiki Hashimoto
Kubota Spears Abiko, Chiba, Kantō Japan Takashi Yamagami Japan Tatsurou Konno
Kyuden Voltex Fukuoka, Kyūshū Japan Koji Hirata Japan Makoto Matsumoto
NEC Green Rockets Abiko, Chiba, Kantō New Zealand Greg Cooper Japan Ryota Asano
NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes Osaka, Kansai Japan Kazunari Takano Japan Hiroki Yoshioka
NTT Shining Arcs Chiba, Chiba, Kantō Japan Masato Hayashi Japan Hiraku Tomoigawa
Panasonic Wild Knights Ota, Gunma, Kantō Japan Norifumi Nakajima Japan Shota Horie
Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo, Kantō New Zealand Leon Holden Japan Daisuke Komatsu
Suntory Sungoliath Fuchū, Tokyo, Kantō Japan Naoya Okubo Japan Shinya Makabe
Toshiba Brave Lupus Fuchū, Tokyo, Kantō Japan Kenichi Wada Japan Michael Leitch
Toyota Industries Shuttles Aichi, Mizuho Australia Tai McIsaac Japan Takayuki Kamitani
Toyota Verblitz Toyota, Aichi, Tokai Japan Keiji Hirose Japan Ryuta Ueno
Yamaha Júbilo Iwata, Shizuoka, Tokai Japan Katsuyuki Kiyomiya Japan Yuta Kasahara

Regular season[edit]

For the Pool stage, the 16 teams were placed into 2 pools of 8 teams each and a round-robin tournament was played within each of the pools.

Then, for the Group stage, the top 4 teams from each pool went through to Group 1, and the bottom 4 teams from each pool went through to Group 2. The teams were given starting points based on where they finished in their pool. - i.e. starting points of 4, 3, 2, and 1, for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively; and starting points of 4, 3, 2, and 1, for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th respectively.

Another round-robin was played for each of the groups. The Top League teams in Group 1 ranked 1st to 4th qualified for the title play-offs to fight for the Microsoft Cup and the Top League title. The top 4 also qualified directly into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

The teams in Group 1 ranked 5th to 8th, and teams in Group 2 ranked 1st to 4th went through to the wildcard play-offs for qualification into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

The teams in Group 2 ranked 5th to 7th went through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against regional challengers to fight to remain in the Top League. The team in Group 2 ranked 8th was automatically relegated to the regional leagues for 2014–15.

Table[edit]

Group stage tables[edit]

Top League - Group Stage
Group 1
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Start Points Points
1 Panasonic Wild Knights 7 7 0 0 224 105 119 4 0 4 36
2 Suntory Sungoliath 7 6 0 1 261 169 92 4 0 4 32
3 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 7 4 0 3 223 194 29 5 1 2 24
4 Toshiba Brave Lupus 7 4 0 3 181 151 30 2 3 2 23
5 Yamaha Júbilo 7 3 0 4 168 177 -9 2 2 3 19
6 Toyota Verblitz 7 3 0 4 127 188 -61 1 0 1 14
7 Canon Eagles 7 1 0 6 131 251 -120 0 3 1 8
8 NEC Green Rockets 7 0 0 7 130 210 -80 1 3 3 7
Updated: 19 Jan 2014

Source: rugbyarchive.net
 • The top 4 teams (Green background) qualify for the title play-offs, and also play in the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 5 to 8 (Blue background) qualify for the wildcard play-offs for entry into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 1st in each pool have 4 starting points.  • Teams 2nd in each pool have 3 starting points.
 • Teams 3rd in each pool have 2 starting points.  • Teams 4th in each pool have 1 starting point.

Group 2
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Start Points Points
1 Kubota Spears 7 5 0 2 166 103 63 2 1 4 27
2 Kintetsu Liners 7 5 0 2 187 158 29 3 1 3 27
3 Ricoh Black Rams 7 4 0 3 217 150 67 5 2 2 25
4 Toyota Industries Shuttles 7 4 0 3 190 195 -5 4 0 3 23
5 NTT Shining Arcs 7 3 0 4 158 210 -52 3 1 4 20
6 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 7 3 0 4 157 175 -18 3 3 1 19
7 NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 7 2 0 5 152 160 -8 2 2 2 14
8 Kyuden Voltex 7 2 0 5 157 233 -76 3 0 1 12
Updated: 19 Jan 2014

Source: rugbyarchive.net
 • Teams 1 to 4 (Blue background) qualify for the wildcard play-offs for entry into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 5 to 7 (Yellow background) go through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against regional challengers to retain their places in the Top League.
 • Team 8 (Red background) is automatically relegated to the regional leagues for 2014–15.
 • Teams 5th in each pool have 4 starting points.  • Teams 6th in each pool have 3 starting points.
 • Teams 7th in each pool have 2 starting points.  • Teams 8th in each pool have 1 starting point.

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

Pool stage tables[edit]

Top League - Pool Stage
Pool A
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Suntory Sungoliath 7 6 0 1 245 110 135 5 1 30
2 NEC Green Rockets 7 5 0 2 193 138 55 4 1 25
3 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 7 5 0 2 213 147 66 4 0 24
4 Toyota Verblitz 7 5 0 2 142 111 31 1 1 22
5 NTT Shining Arcs 7 4 0 3 155 175 -20 3 0 19
6 Toyota Industries Shuttles 7 1 0 6 172 185 -13 3 4 11
7 NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 7 2 0 5 116 208 -92 2 0 10
8 Kyuden Voltex 7 0 0 7 87 259 -162 0 0 0
Updated: 26 Nov 2013

Source: rugbyarchive.net
 • Teams 1 to 4 (Blue background) go through to Group 1 in the group stage.
 • Teams 5 to 8 (Yellow background) go through to Group 2 in the group stage.

Pool B
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Panasonic Wild Knights 7 5 1 1 231 97 134 5 1 28
2 Yamaha Júbilo 7 5 1 1 209 150 59 3 0 25
3 Toshiba Brave Lupus 7 5 0 2 164 131 33 3 0 23
4 Canon Eagles 7 4 0 3 187 161 26 2 2 20
5 Kubota Spears 7 4 0 3 169 173 -4 3 1 20
6 Kintetsu Liners 7 2 0 5 139 167 -28 2 3 13
7 Ricoh Black Rams 7 1 1 5 142 196 -54 1 2 9
8 Coca Cola West Red Sparks 7 0 1 6 125 291 -166 3 1 6
Updated: 26 Nov 2013

Source: rugbyarchive.net
 • Teams 1 to 4 (Blue background) go through to Group 1 in the group stage.
 • Teams 5 to 8 (Yellow background) go through to Group 2 in the group stage.

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

Pool stage[edit]

Group stage[edit]

Round 1[edit]










Round 2[edit]










Round 3[edit]










Round 4[edit]










Round 5[edit]










Round 6[edit]










Round 7[edit]










Title play-offs[edit]

Top 4 sides of the regular season competed in the Microsoft Cup (2014) knock out tournament to fight for the Top League title. The top 4 teams of 2013–14 were Panasonic Wild Knights, Suntory Sungoliath, Kobelco Steelers, and Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Semi-finals[edit]

02/02/2014
Suntory Sungoliath 27 – 19 Kobelco Steelers

Final[edit]

09/02/2014
Panasonic Wild Knights 45 – 22 Suntory Sungoliath
Try: Yamada 5', 49' Miyake 77'
Con: Barnes (2/3) 50', 78'
Pen: Barnes (8/9) 21', 24', 31',
46', 53', 69', 72', 80'
Report Try: Shinya 9', Du Preez 14', Aruga 36'
Con: Tsukamoto (1/1) 15'
Nicholas (1/2) 38'
Pen: Nicholas (1/2) 60'
Team details
Panasonic Wild Knights
FB 15 Yasutaka Sasakura Substituted off 76'
RW 14 Tomoki Kitagawa
OC 13 Seichi Shimomura
IC 12 Yasuki Hayashi Substituted off 48'
LW 11 Akihito Yamada
FH 10 Berrick Barnes
SH 9 Fumiaki Tanaka Substituted off 77'
N8 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani Substituted off 77'
OF 7 Tadasuke Nishihara
BF 6 Sione Vatuvei Substituted off 77'
RL 5 Daniel Heenan Substituted off 48'
LL 4 Yu Young-nam
TP 3 Tomokazu Soma Substituted off 53'
HK 2 Shota Horie (c)
LP 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements:
HK 16 Tetsuya Shitara Substituted in 77'
PR 17 Naoki Kawamata Substituted in 55'
PR 18 Ryusioapelatu Holani Substituted in 53' Substituted off 55'
LK 19 Yoichi Ijima Substituted in 48'
FL 20 Daichi Wakamatsu Substituted in 77'
SH 21 Nicholas Ealey Substituted in 77'
CE 22 JP Pietersen Substituted in 48'
FB 23 Takashi Miyake Substituted in 76'
Coach:
Japan Norifumi Nakajima
Suntory Sungoliath
FB 15 Go Aruga Substituted off 62'
RW 14 Murata Daishi
OC 13 Koji Taira
IC 12 Ryan Nicholas
LW 11 Kenta Tsukamoto
FH 10 Kosei Ono Substituted off 69'
SH 9 Fourie Du Preez Substituted off 69'
N8 8 Ozawa Naoki Substituted off 77'
OF 7 Takamichi Sasaki
BF 6 George Smith Substituted off 73'
RL 5 Makabe Shinya (c)
LL 4 Shinozuka Koji
TP 3 Hatakeyama Kensuke
HK 2 Aoki Yusuke
LP 1 Kanei Tateo Substituted off 73'
Replacements:
HK 16 Shintaro Ishihara Substituted in 73'
PR 17 Ozaki Akira
PR 18 Ikegaya Yosuke
FL 19 Takemoto Juntaro Substituted in 77'
FL 20 Hendrik Tui Substituted in 73'
SH 21 Hiwasa Atsushi Substituted in 69'
CE 22 Tusi Pisi Substituted in 69'
FB 23 Nagatomo Yasunori Substituted in 62'
Coach:
Japan Naoya Okubo

Wildcard play-offs[edit]

The Top League Group 1 teams ranked 5–8 and Group 2 teams ranked 1–4 played off over two rounds, with the second round winners qualifying for the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

First round[edit]






Second round[edit]




So Yamaha and Toyota advanced to the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

Challenge series[edit]

Challenge 2[edit]

The second-placed regional teams from East Japan, West Japan, and Kyushu played each other in a round-robin tournament for the right to join Challenge 1.




Final order:

Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars advanced to Challenge 1.

Challenge 1[edit]

The top-placed regional teams from East Japan, West Japan, and Kyushu were joined by the Challenge 2 winner to play each other in a round-robin tournament to gain promotion to the Top League for the following season. These teams were Honda Heat, Fukuoka Sanix Blues, Mitsubishi Dynaboars, and Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars.








Final order:

Fukuoka was promoted to the Top League for the following season. The other three teams went on to the promotion and relegation play-offs.

Promotion and relegation play-offs[edit]

The Top League teams in Group 2 ranked 5th, 6th, and 7th, played-off against the Challenge 1 teams ranked 4th, 3rd, and 2nd, respectively, for the right to be included in the Top League for the following season.





So Coca Cola, NTT Docomo, and NTT remained in the Top League for the next season.

End of season awards[edit]

At the end of season awards, Panasonic Wild Knights flyhalf Berrick Barnes was named Top League MVP, a day after helping his side to the league title. He was handed his trophy by Japan coach Eddie Jones.[3]

Team Awards[edit]

Award Winner
Top League winners: Panasonic Wild Knights
Fair Play award:
Best fans:

Individual awards[edit]

Award Winner
Top League MVP: Australia Berrick Barnes (Panasonic)
Rookie award: Japan Keita Inagaki (Panasonic) and Japan Kyosuke Horie (Yamaha)
Most tries: South Africa Jaque Fourie (Kobe Steel) 17 tries
Top scorer: Japan Ryan Nicholas (Suntory)
Best kicker: Japan Ryan Nicholas (Suntory)
Best referee:
Playoffs MVP:

Team of the season[edit]

# Winner
1. Japan Keita Inagaki (Panasonic)
2. Japan Shota Horie (Panasonic)
3. Japan Kensuke Hatakeyama (Suntory)
4. Japan Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba)
5. Australia Daniel Heenan (Panasonic)
6. Australia George Smith (Suntory)
7. Japan Tadasuke Nishihara (Panasonic)
8. Japan Kyosuke Horie (Yamaha)
9. Japan Atsushi Hiwasa (Suntory)
10. Australia Berrick Barnes (Panasonic)
11. Japan Akihito Yamada (Panasonic)
12. Japan Male Sa'u (Yamaha)
13. South Africa Jaque Fourie (Kobe Steel)
14. Japan Tomoki Kitagawa (Panasonic)
15. Japan Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Panasonic crowned Top League champions". jrfu.org. 11 February 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Japan Rugby Top League 16 Team Captains". jrfu.org. 2013. Archived from the original on 21 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Barnes named Top League MVP". jrfu.org. 12 February 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 

External links[edit]