2011–12 Top League
|2011–12 Top League|
2011–12 top scorer, Yamaha's Ayumu Goromaru (right).
|Date||29 October 2011 – 26 February 2012|
|Champions||Suntory Sungoliath (2nd title)|
|Runners-up||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|Top point scorer||Ayumu Goromaru (182 points)|
|Top try scorer||Nemani Nadolo (19 tries)|
The 2011–12 Top League was the ninth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Suntory Sungoliath team defeated Sanyo Wild Knights by 47–28 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim their second Top League championship.
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.
|Coca-Cola West Red Sparks||Fukuoka, Kyushu|
|Fukuoka Sanix Blues||Fukuoka, Kyushu|
|Kintetsu Liners||Osaka, Kansai|
|Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers||Hyogo, Kansai|
|NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes||, Osaka|
|NEC Green Rockets||Chiba, Kanto|
|NTT Shining Arcs||Chiba, Chiba|
|Ricoh Black Rams||Tokyo, Kanto|
|Sanyo Wild Knights||Gunma, Kanto|
|Suntory Sungoliath||Tokyo, Kanto|
|Toshiba Brave Lupus||Tokyo, Kanto|
|Toyota Verblitz||Aichi, Tokai|
|Honda Heat||Suzuka, Mie|
|Yamaha Jubilo||Shizuoka, Tokai|
|Top League Table|
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|2||Toshiba Brave Lupus||13||11||0||2||475||173||+302||9||2||55|
|3||Sanyo Wild Knights||13||11||0||2||480||324||+156||8||1||53|
|4||NEC Green Rockets||13||8||0||5||349||314||+35||8||1||41|
|7||Ricoh Black Rams||13||7||1||5||386||333||+53||7||1||38|
|9||NTT Shining Arcs||13||5||1||7||322||414||−92||6||2||30|
|11||Fukuoka Sanix Blues||13||4||0||9||254||458||−204||7||2||25|
|12||NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes||13||2||1||10||291||555||−264||5||0||15|
|14||Coca-Cola West Red Sparks||13||1||0||12||285||494||−209||3||5||12|
• The top 4 teams qualified to the title play-offs.
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).
Fixtures and results
|This section needs expansion with: Results Rd 2-13 (source rugbyarchive.net). You can help by adding to it. (November 2013)|
|29 October 2011||Ricoh Black Rams||36–26||Fukuoka Sanix Blues||Chichibu, Tokyo|
|29 October 2011||Yamaha Júbilo||55–18||NTT Shining Arcs||Yamaha Stadium, Shizuoka|
|29 October 2011||Kobelco Steelers||38–17||NEC Green Rockets||Kincho Stadium, Osaka|
|29 October 2011||Sanyo Wild Knights||26–31||Suntory Sungoliath||Chichibu, Tokyo|
|30 October 2011||Honda Heat||19–19||NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes||Hanazono, Osaka|
|30 October 2011||Toyota Verblitz||15–36||Toshiba Brave Lupus||Mizuho Stadium, Aichi|
|30 October 2011||Kintetsu Liners||32–16||Coca-Cola West Red Sparks||Hanazono, Osaka|
Top 4 sides of the regular season competed in the Microsoft Cup (2012) knock-out tournament to fight for the Top League title. The top 4 teams of 2011–12 were Suntory Sungoliath, Toshiba Brave Lupus, Sanyo Wild Knights, and NEC Green Rockets.
|19 February 2012||Suntory Sungoliath||56–8||NEC Green Rockets||Chichibu, Tokyo|
|19 February 2012||Sanyo Wild Knights||37–25||Toshiba Brave Lupus||Chichibu, Tokyo|
|26 February 2012||Suntory Sungoliath||47–28||Sanyo Wild Knights||Chichibu, Tokyo|
The Top League teams ranked 5th and 8th played-off, and the teams ranked 6th and 7th played-off, with the winners qualifying for the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
|18 February 2012||Kobe Steelers||32 – 19||Ricoh Black Rams||Hanazono, Osaka|
|18 February 2012||Kintetsu Liners||15 – 17||Yamaha Jubilo||Hanazono, Osaka|
So Kobe and Yamaha progressed to the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.
Top League Challenge Series
Canon Eagles and Kyuden Voltex won promotion to the 2012–13 Top League via the 2011–12 Top League Challenge Series, while Kubota Spears and Toyota Industries Shuttles progressed to the promotion play-offs.
Promotion and relegation play-offs
Two promotion/relegation matches (Irekaesen) were played. The Top League teams ranked 12th and 11th played-off against the Challenge 1 teams ranked 3rd and 4th respectively, for the right to be included in the Top League for the following season.
|3 March 2012||Fukuoka Sanix Blues||39-17||Toyota Industries Shuttles|
|3 March 2012||NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes||29-27||Kubota Spears|
So Sanix and NTT Docomo remained in the Top League for the following season.
End of season awards
|Tournament winner:||Suntory Sungoliath|
|Fair Play award:||Toshiba Brave Lupus|
|Best player of the season:||George Smith (Suntory Sungoliath)|
|Revelation of the season:||Michael Leitch (Toshiba Brave Lupus)|
|Most tries:||Nemani Nadolo (NEC Green Rockets)|
|Most kicks:||Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha Jubilo)|
|Best referee of the season:||Taizo Hirabayashi|
|Special prize:|| Tomoaki Nakai (Toshiba Brave Lupus)
First player to 100 Top League appearances
2012/2013 Team of the Season
|FB||15||Ayumu Goromaru||Yamaha Jubilo|
|RW||14||Tomoki Kitagawa||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|OC||13||Jaque Fourie||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|IC||12||Kosei Ono||Fukuoka Sanix Blues|
|LW||11||Nemani Nadolo||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|FH||10||Yasumasa Shigemitsu||Kintetsu Liners|
|SH||9||Atsushi Hiwasa||Suntory Sungoliath|
|N8||8||Masato Toyoda||Toshiba Brave Lupus|
|OF||7||Michael Leitch||Toshiba Brave Lupus|
|BF||6||George Smith||Suntory Sungoliath|
|RL||5||Hitoshi Ono||Toshiba Brave Lupus|
|LL||4||Daniel Heenan||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|TP||3||Kensuke Hatakeyama||Suntory Sungoliath|
|HK||2||Shota Horie||Sanyo Wild Knights|
|LP||1||Hisateru Hirashima||Kobelco Steelers|
- "2011/12 Top League". The Rugby Archive.