2014–15 Top League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
2014–15 Top League
Topleague04-15final.JPG
Panasonic win the Lixil Cup for season 2014–15.
Countries Japan Japan
Date 22 August 2014 – 1 February 2015
Champions Panasonic Wild Knights
(3rd title)
Runners-up Yamaha Júbilo
Matches played 115
Top point scorer Australia Berrick Barnes
(156 pts)

 Panasonic Wild Knights
Top try scorer Fiji Nemani Nadolo
(11 tries)

 NEC Green Rockets
Japan Rakuhei Yamashita
(11 tries)

 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
Japan Kyosuke Horie
(11 tries)

 Yamaha Júbilo

The 2014–15 Top League was the 12th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 30 August 2014. The final was held on 8 February 2015 and won by Panasonic Wild Knights, 30–12 over Yamaha Júbilo.

Teams[edit]

The only change to the make-up of the league was the Top Kyushu champion team Fukuoka Sanix replacing Kyuden Voltex.[1][2]

Team Region Coach Captain
Canon Eagles Machida, Tokyo, Kantō Australia Zane Hilton Japan Taku Wada
Coca-Cola Red Sparks Fukuoka, Kyūshū Japan Akihiro Usui Japan Masakazu Toyota
Fukuoka Sanix Blues Fukuoka, Kyūshū Japan Yuichiro Fujii Japan Eito Tamura
Kintetsu Liners Higashiosaka, Osaka, Kansai Japan Ryusuke Maeda Japan Daiki Toyota
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers Kobe, Kansai South Africa Gary Gold Japan Daiki Hashimoto
Kubota Spears Funabashi, Chiba, Kantō Australia Toutai Kefu Japan Naomichi Tatekawa
NEC Green Rockets Abiko, Chiba, Kantō Japan Masao Amino Japan Sunao Takizawa
NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes Osaka, Kansai Japan Masahiro Shimoki Japan Hiroki Yoshioka
NTT Shining Arcs Chiba, Chiba, Kantō New Zealand Rob Penney Japan Yuya Mizoguchi
Panasonic Wild Knights Ota, Gunma, Kantō New Zealand Robbie Deans Japan Shota Horie
Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo, Kantō Australia Damien Hill Japan Daisuke Komatsu
Suntory Sungoliath Fuchū, Tokyo, Kantō Australia Andy Friend Japan Shinya Makabe
Toshiba Brave Lupus Fuchū, Tokyo, Kantō Japan Teppei Tomioka Japan Yoshikazu Morita
Toyota Industries Shuttles Aichi, Mizuho Australia Tai McIsaac Japan Koichi Umeda
Toyota Verblitz Toyota, Aichi, Tokai New Zealand Filo Tiatia Japan Kojiro Yoshida
Yamaha Júbilo Iwata, Shizuoka, Tokai Japan Katsuyuki Kiyomiya Japan Yuhimaru Mimura

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 2015–16.

Standings[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 Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers 7 5 0 2 242 113 +129 4 1 4 29
2 Panasonic Wild Knights 7 5 0 2 218 131 +87 5 0 4 29
3 Toshiba Brave Lupus 7 5 0 2 213 147 +66 4 1 3 28
4 Yamaha Júbilo 7 5 0 2 165 134 +31 4 1 2 27
5 Suntory Sungoliath 7 5 0 2 171 157 +14 3 0 3 26
6 Toyota Verblitz 7 2 0 5 126 198 -72 2 0 1 11
7 Canon Eagles 7 1 0 6 116 224 -108 1 1 2 8
8 NTT Shining Arcs 7 0 0 7 99 246 -147 0 1 1 2
Updated: 11 January 2015

Source: rugbyarchive.net[3]
 • 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 Ricoh Black Rams 7 6 0 1 199 102 +97 4 1 3 32
2 NEC Green Rockets 7 5 0 2 148 114 +34 3 1 3 27
3 NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 7 5 0 2 235 166 +69 4 1 1 26
4 Kintetsu Liners 7 4 0 3 167 168 -1 4 1 4 25
5 Kubota Spears 7 4 0 3 151 127 +24 2 2 4 24
6 Coca-Cola Red Sparks 7 2 0 5 143 194 -51 4 1 2 15
7 Toyota Industries Shuttles 7 1 0 6 110 193 -83 1 1 2 8
8 Fukuoka Sanix Blues 7 1 0 6 147 236 -89 2 1 1 8
Updated: 11 January 2015

Source: rugbyarchive.net[3]
 • 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 2015–16.
 • 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[3]
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]

Pool stage[edit]

Round 1[edit]










Round 2[edit]










Round 3[edit]










Round 4[edit]










Round 5[edit]










Round 6[edit]










Round 7[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 Lixil Cup knock out tournament to decide the Top League champion. The top 4 teams of 2014–15 were Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers, Panasonic Wild Knights, Toshiba Brave Lupus, and Yamaha Júbilo.

Semi-finals[edit]

Final[edit]

1 February 2015 Yamaha Júbilo 12–30 Panasonic Wild Knights Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo  
14:00 Try: Horie 8' c
Nakazono 11'
Con: Goromaru (1/2) 9'
Try: Kitagawa 11', 76' c
Barnes 22'
Yamada 28' c
Con: Barnes (1/3) 29'
Miwa (1/1) 77'
Pen: Barnes (2/2) 3', 39'

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 NEC Green Rockets and Suntory Sungoliath advanced to the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship.

Top League Challenge Series[edit]

Honda Heat won promotion to the 2015–16 Top League via the 2014–15 Top League Challenge Series, while Kamaishi Seawaves, Kyuden Voltex and Mitsubishi Dynaboars progressed to the promotion 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 Kubota Spears, Coca-Cola Red Sparks and Toyota Industries Shuttles remained in the Top League for the next season.

End of season awards[edit]

Team Awards[edit]

Award Winner
Top League winners: Panasonic Wild Knights
Fair Play award: Panasonic Wild Knights
Best fans: Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
Toshiba Brave Lupus
Panasonic Wild Knights

Individual awards[edit]

Award Winner
Top League MVP: Berrick Barnes (Panasonic Wild Knights)
Rookie award: Rakuhei Yamashita (Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers)
Most tries: Nemani Nadolo (NEC Green Rockets) 11
Kyosuke Horie (Yamaha Júbilo) 11
Rakuhei Yamashita (Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers) 11
Top scorer: Berrick Barnes (Panasonic Wild Knights) 156
Best kicker: Berrick Barnes (Panasonic Wild Knights) 82.61%
Best referee: Akihisa Aso
Playoffs MVP: Akihito Yamada (Panasonic Wild Knights)

Team of the season[edit]

# Winner Team
1. Japan Keita Inagaki Panasonic Wild Knights
2. Japan Shota Horie Panasonic Wild Knights
3. Japan Hiroshi Yamashita Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
4. South Africa Andries Bekker Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
5. Japan Shoji Ito Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
6. New Zealand Adam Thomson Canon Eagles
7. Japan Michael Leitch Toshiba Brave Lupus
8. Japan Kyosuke Horie Yamaha Júbilo
9. Japan Fumiaki Tanaka Panasonic Wild Knights
10. Australia Berrick Barnes Panasonic Wild Knights
11. Japan Rakuhei Yamashita Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
12. Japan Kotaro Matsushima Suntory Sungoliath
13. South Africa Jaque Fourie Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers
14. Japan Akihito Yamada Panasonic Wild Knights
15. Japan Ayumu Goromaru Yamaha Júbilo

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Draw made for 2014-15 opening stage after NTT Comms remain in Top League". jrfu.org. 22 February 2014. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Hinato (21 April 2014). "Robbie Deans new manager of Panasonic Wild Knights!". Japon Rugby (in French). Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "2014/15 Top League". The Rugby Archive. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015.