Ex-Wallabies coaches Deans, Rennie win big in Japan


Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete enjoyed a winning weekend with Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights.
Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete enjoyed a winning weekend with Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights.

Former Wallabies coaches Robbie Deans and Dave Rennie have enjoyed big wins in round nine of Japan Rugby League One.

Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, coached by Deans and featuring Australia winger Marika Koroibete, ended the eight-game winning run of Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo on Saturday while remaining unbeaten themselves thanks to a 36-24 win at Kumagaya.

All Blacks five-eighth Richie Mo’unga scored 14 points for Brave Lupus, including a try, to put his side to within five points shortly before the finish.

But a try by former Hurricanes second rower Mark Abbott ended the comeback, leaving the Wild Knights five points clear at the top of the table.

Rennie’s Kobelco Kobe Steelers consolidated their hold on fourth place with their sixth win of the season, outclassing former Wallabies midfielder Curtis Rona’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars 43-14.

Kobe are five points behind Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath, who maintained third position despite a try from Australia halfback Will Genia for Hanzono Kintetsu Liners in their 34-14 loss to the competition heavyweights.

Quade Cooper converted both of winless Kintetsu’s tries, but a Sungoliath outfit featuring former Queensland Reds second-rower Harry Hockings was far too strong.

Yokohama Canon Eagles handed Shizuoka Blue Revs a second straight defeat after a 34-17 win, while defending champions Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay are in trouble after also dropping to back-to-back losses, edged out 31-27 by Steve Hansen’s Toyota Verblitz.

The seventh-placed Spears were without all three of their international stars, with Wallaby Bernard Foley, Welshman Liam Williams and All Black Dane Coles sidelined by injury.

Aussie Peter Hewat’s Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo rebounded from last week’s 62-0 rout by Sungoliath, chalking up their second win of the campaign by beating Mie Honda Heat 24-14.