Brodie Retallick continues try-scoring spree as All Blacks and Wallabies star in Top League
Aussie young guns Dylan Riley and Jack Cornelsen were to the fore as Panasonic Wild Knights ended the unbeaten run of NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes to stay top of Japan’s Top League standings.
The Robbie Deans-coached Wild Knights pushed on from a 10-7 halftime advantage to win 26-13 in Osaka on Sunday.
Forward Cornelsen’s tireless work rate helped to stem the tide of the Red Hurricanes’ early dominance of possession and territory, while Riley’s power in the midfield helped to create the opportunity for Panasonic’s three tries.
Former Australian under-20s international Riley proved a real handful for the defence, allowing midfield partner Hadleigh Parkes to also play a key role as he scored one try and set up another.
The Wild Knights are one of two unbeaten teams in the white conference of the tournament.
Defending champions Kobe are the other, but only just, after surviving a stern challenge from the Damien Hill-coached Ricoh Black Rams.
With Aussie Isaac Lucas calling the shots from flyhalf, the Black Rams overturned a 17-7 halftime deficit to lead 19-17 before All Black-laden Kobe scrambled out of jail with a late penalty goal to win 20-19.
The other game from the conference saw former Queensland flanker Ed Quirk part of a turnaround by the Canon Eagles, as they rebounded from a 47-0 drubbing by Panasonic last week to upset Yamaha Jubilo 40-32.
In the red section, former Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley’s Kubota Spears continue to head the standings after a routine 38-7 win over Honda Heat.
The other game from that side of the draw played on Sunday saw former Wallabies flanker Liam Gill’s NTT Communications Shining Arcs held to a 26-26 draw by the Mitsubishi Dynaboars.
Bad weather that hit the main Japanese island of Honshu on Saturday saw a number of other players with Australian connections denied an opportunity.
Harry Hockings, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon all missed out as their Suntory Sungoliath’s match with Toshiba Brave Lupus in Tokyo was called off after only 15 minutes due to nearby lightning strikes.
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