Several All Blacks have had winning starts to the opening round of the Japan Rugby League One season.
Brodie Retallick scored the opening try of the season as the Kobelco Kobe Steelers thrashed Honda 80-15 in Kobe. Up 26-10 at halftime, the Steelers ran in eight second-half tries with Retallick and All Blacks teammate Ardie Savea, who player flanker, both finishing with doubles. Former Chiefs No. 10 Bryn Gatland finished with eight conversions while former All Black and Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape also scored a try.
Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith played in Toyota Verblitz’s 15-8 win over the Black Rams in Aichi. Springboks rival Pieter Steph Du Toit was starting No. 8 for Toyota while former Blues lock Tom Robinson also started. Toyota led 12-8 at the break. Former Hawke’s Bay first-five Tiaan Falcon replaced Barrett and kicked the only points in the second half.
Richie Mo’unga and Shannon Frizell both started as Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo beat Shizuoka Blue Revs 43-30 in Tokyo. Former All Black and Crusaders winger Seta Tamanivalu scored a double, but Mo’unga didn’t have the best start with the boot missing three of four attempts in the first half as Toshiba led 22-20 at the break. But Mo’unga found his mark in the second half, converting his side’s three second-half tries as they ran clear for the win.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane also had a winning start to his campaign as the Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath beat the Kubota Spears 52-26. Cane played at No. 8 and played 57 minutes as Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath ran in eight tries in the victory.
Japan Rugby League One scores:
Kobelco Kobe Steelers 80 Honda Heat 15
Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars 30 Hanazono Kintetsu Liners 29
Toyota Verblitz 18 BlackRams Tokyo 8
Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo 43 Shizuoka Blue Revs 30
Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath 52 Kubota Spears 26
Saitama Wild Knights 53 Yokohama Canon Eagles 12