Dan Carter made his Japanese Top League debut on Friday night, leading his Kobelco Steelers to an impressive 36-20 victory over two-time defending champions Suntory Sungoliath.
Carter kicked four penalties, two conversions and bagged a try to bring his points haul to 21 as the Steelers claimed a second consecutive victory.
“It was a very special day to finally play in the Top League and Japan,” Carter told media after the match.
“I’ve been here a couple of months and worked hard and this was the last piece in the puzzle.”
“Coming to a new club you have to earn the respect of your teammates. I wanted to prove myself and I’d like to think I did.”
“Grant was pretty special,” Dillon said. “He has the skill set and pace of a back and it was good to see what he did. But he can only do it with the other seven forwards and all the forwards have been working hard on their skills in attack and defense.”
Hattingh helped the Steelers get on the board after just three minutes when he set up a try for Rakuhei Yamashita.
36-year-old Carter’s first chance at points for the side was wayward, but he redeemed himself four minutes later with his first penalty of the night.
Hattingh then put Richard Buckman away for Kobe’s second try before Carter crossed for his first five-pointer with the side.
Two late penalties from the two-time World Cup winner put the game out of reach in the second half as he claimed his first Top League victory as a shoo-in for man of the match.
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Felt great to play my first game for my new team, the Kobelco Steelers last night, and it was nice to get a win against the strong Suntory Sungoliath team. Couldn’t believe what an amazing crowd we had as well, thanks for all the support and looking forward to the next one. #kobelcosteelers #rugby #japan
“Kobe played with a lot of passion and got off to a great start and we weren’t able to play our game,” said Suntory coach Keisuke Sawaki.
Carter’s Kobe side will next play Toyota Verblitz as they continue their campaign.
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