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Green Rockets pull off shock upset 6 days after Michael Cheika resigns

By AAP
Michael Cheika, (L) the Argentina head coach celebrates with team captain, Julian Montoya after their victory during the Autumn International match between England and Argentina at Twickenham Stadium on November 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu clinched the upset of the round when they beat Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars 33-26 in Japan Rugby League One.

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The win comes barely a week after Argentina head coach Michael Cheika resigned from his duel role as boss at the Japanese club.

The victory for Green Rockets, who included former Wallaby halfback Nick Phipps among their ranks, represented a marked improvement for a side that recently went two-and-a-half games without scoring a single point.

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Cheika’s Wallabies’ predecessor Robbie Deans guided the unbeaten Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights to a comprehensive 48-10 win over Kobelco Kobe Steelers.

The win, which was achieved without star Wallaby winger Marika Koroibete, was a fine answer to Saturday’s performance by Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay, who beat Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo 46-27 to maintain their unbeaten record for the season.

Saitama, with nine wins from nine this year, will be looking to protect a 41-game unbeaten streak, which dates to 2018, when they host Wallaby Bernard Foley’s Kubota in one of the most anticipated non-playoffs contests in Japanese club rugby history.

Although without Koroibete, Saitama still scored six tries against Kobe, two of which were supplied by the veteran former Melbourne Rebels hooker Shota Horie, while ex-Australia Under 20s centre Dylan Riley also got on the scoresheet.

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After being the joint leading try-scorer in the league last year, Riley has had to wait until his eighth appearance this term to open his account.

Former Queensland Reds lock Harry Hockings was a try-scorer as third-placed Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath overcame a tricky assignment to win their eighth game in a row by beating Kwagga Smith’s Shizuoka Blue Revs, 25-17.

Will Genia’s Hanazono Kintets u Liners are now winless in nine after being outclassed 64-10 by the Peter Hewat-coached Ricoh Black Rams, with the former Australian winger’s charges smashing their opponents 50-0 in the second half.

The game was marred by a first half-red card for an illegal cleanout by former Super Rugby lock Michael Allardice, who connected with the head of Springbok halfback Faf de Klerk.

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In Division Two, Israel Folau’s absence for a third straight match did not prevent Urayasu D-Rocks returning after a two-week break to thump ex-French lock Yoann Maestri’s Toyota Industries Shuttles Aichi, 59-12.

Wallaby Tom Banks and former Argentina Pumas’ skipper Pablo Matera were also victorious as Mie Honda Heat fended off Kamaishi Seawaves 41-26 to stay second on the point’s table.

NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes lead Division Three after winning Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash, beating Kyushu Electric Power Kyuden Voltex 23-14 at Fukuoka.

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