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Beauden Barrett binned as Toyota Verblitz season on life-support

By RugbyPass
Beauden Barrett of Toyota Verblitz interacts with fans prior to the preseason match between Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath and Blues at Prince Chichibu Rugby Ground on February 3, 2024 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Beauden Barrett received just the fifth yellow card of his 15-year club career as the playoff hopes of Toyota Verblitz were left on life-support at the end of the latest round of Japan Rugby League One.

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The All Black flyhalf was sin-binned in the fifth minute of his side’s 24-8 defeat by Shizuoka Blue Revs on Saturday, being ejected after high contact on the home side’s try-bound Indian-born winger Keagen Faria.

Insult was added to injury with the Blue Revs awarded a penalty try, which gave Shizuoka the perfect start on their way to a victory that may have killed off any hopes the Steve Hansen-coached Verblitz had of making the semi-finals.

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Verblitz, who are 10 points from fourth with just five games remaining, have made the playoffs just once since the former All Black coach took over as Director of Rugby in 2019.

The Blue Revs scored two tries, but could have had two more, with Charles Piutau twice pulled up after crossing the line because of knock ons in the lead-up play.

Barrett’s previous four club yellow cards were conceded at the Hurricanes, two coming in the same match which saw him sent off against the NSW Waratahs in 2017.

The 32-year-old has been yellow carded just once in 123 tests.

On a weekend of contrasting fortunes for the international flyhalves, fellow All Black Richie Mo’unga’s was also yellow-carded for a professional foul as Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo scraped home 40-33 against a Ricoh Black Rams outfit who benefited from two tries by ex-England backrower Nathan Hughes.

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Wallaby Quade Cooper’s Hanzono Kintetsu Liners sunk to their 11th defeat of the season after being outclassed 60-17 by Kobelco Kobe Steelers in today’s Kansai derby.

Meanwhile the 70-test veteran Yu Tamura was the toast of Yokohama after his nerveless 83rd-minute penalty goal helped the Eagles recover from a 25-point halftime deficit to record an astounding 37-35 win over Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath on Saturday.

Third-placed Sungoliath shredded the Eagles defence with ease in the first half, with two of their five tries beginning from near their own goal-line, as they romped to a 35-10 lead.

Yet they were held scoreless after the break as Yokohama, aided by seven goals from as many attempts by their ex-Brave Blossoms flyhalf, whittled away at the margin, before taking the lead when it mattered most.

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The Australian-educated Brave Blossoms centre Dylan Riley starred on Friday night as Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights hammered Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay 55-22 in the grand final replay, almost certainly consigning the champions’ title ‘defence’ to the dustbin.

Riley scored two tries, taking his tally for the season to 10, while his midfield partner, double Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok Damien de Allende, was also a standout and scored the opening try, as the unbeaten Wild Knights moved to within a win of semi-final qualification.

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