2003–04 Top League

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2003–04 Top League
Countries Japan Japan
Date
Champions Kobe Steelers
Runners-up Toshiba Brave Lupus

The 2003–04 Top League was the first season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. Toshiba Brave Lupus won the league by finishing on top of the round-robin competition.

Toshiba Brave Lupus lost the final of Microsoft Cup to NEC Green Rockets, but the cup was considered a separate competition to the Top League prior to 2007.

Teams[edit]

Team Region
Fukuoka Sanix Blues Fukuoka, Kyushu
Kintetsu Liners Osaka, Kansai
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers Hyogo, Kansai
Kubota Spears Chiba, Kanto
NEC Green Rockets Chiba, Kanto
Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo, Kanto
Sanyo Wild Knights Gunma, Kanto
Secom Rugguts Sayama, Saitama
Suntory Sungoliath Tokyo, Kanto
Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo, Kanto
World Fighting Bull Kobe, Kansai
Yamaha Jubilo Shizuoka, Tokai

Top League 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 Kobe Steelers 11 9 0 2 439 286 153 11 0 47
2 Toshiba Brave Lupus 11 8 1 2 503 283 220 9 1 44
3 Yamaha Jubilo 11 8 2 1 334 223 111 6 0 42
4 Suntory Sungoliath 11 8 0 3 408 265 143 9 1 42
5 World Fighting Bull 11 6 0 5 349 285 64 7 1 32
6 NEC Green Rockets 11 5 2 4 411 274 137 6 0 30
7 Sanyo Wild Knights 11 4 1 6 319 331 -12 6 0 24
8 Kubota Spears 11 4 0 9 262 362 -100 4 2 22
9 Ricoh Black Rams 11 3 0 9 273 402 -129 5 2 19
10 Kintetsu Liners 11 3 0 9 292 510 -218 6 0 18
11 Secom Rugguts 11 3 0 9 260 405 -145 3 0 15
12 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 11 2 0 9 230 454 -224 4 2 14

 • The top 8 teams qualified to the Microsoft Cup play-offs.
 • The top 4 teams also qualified to the for entry into the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
 • Teams 9 and 10 went through to the promotion and relegation play-offs against regional challengers.
 • Teams 11 and 12 were automatically relegated.

Source:The Rugby Archive[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 results[edit]

Microsoft Cup play-offs[edit]

The top eight teams in the league played off for the Microsoft Cup (2004) knock out tournament, which was won by NEC Green Rockets.

Quarter-finals[edit]






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 Challenge 1. The top two were automatically promoted, replacing the 11th and 12th teams which were automatically relegated. The third-placed team played the 10th placed Top League team, with the winner of that game taking a Top League place.[2]





Final order: 1st-Toyota, 2nd-IBM, 3rd-Kyuden.

So Toyota and IBM were promoted to the Top League for 2004-05.

Challenge 2[edit]

The second-placed regional teams played each other in Challenge 2 for the right to play the 9th placed Top League team, with the winner taking a Top League place.





Final order: 1st-Toyota Industries, 2nd-Kamaishi, 3rd-Coca-Cola.

So Toyota Industries Shuttles won the right to play Ricoh Black Rams for a place in the Top League 2004-05.

Promotion and relegation play-offs[edit]

Two promotion/relegation matches (Irekaesen) were played with the winners qualifying for the 2004–05 Top League. The 10th-placed team from the Top League against the 3rd-placed team from Challenge 1. The 9th-placed team from the Top League against the 1st-placed team from Challenge 2.




So Kinetsu and Ricoh stayed in the Top League for the 2004–05 season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2003/04 Top League". The Rugby Archive. 
  2. ^ "Japan - Top League Challenge 2003/04". rugbyarchive.net. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]