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Eddie Jones should be licking his lips after Wallabies showing in Japan

By AAP
(Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath, for whom he is an advisor, might have been eliminated but there was still plenty for Wallabies coach Eddie Jones to enthuse over from the penultimate weekend of Japan Rugby League One.

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Suntory were defeated 24-18 by Bernard Foley’s Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay, qualifying the Wallabies five-eighth’s side for its first-ever final in Japanese club rugby.

In a game marked by the dismissal of Suntory’s former Queensland Reds lock Hendrick Tui in the fifth minute, Foley was a try-scorer while Samu Kerevi made his long-awaited return from the knee injury he suffered playing for Australia at last August’s Commonwealth Games.

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With Kerevi’s return coming a week after Quade Cooper made his comeback from the ruptured achilles he sustained in the same month, Australia’s backline resources are coming together nicely four months out from the Rugby World Cup.

After playing 40 minutes on return last weekend, Cooper was on the field for a n hour on Saturday and weaved his magic, scoring a try and setting up another from a pinpoint high kick, as Hanazono Kintetsu Liners retained their Division One status with a crushing 56-21 win over Israel Folau’s Urayasu D-Rocks.

Although no longer available for the Wallabies, Cooper’s long-time halves partner Will Genia showed he has not lost his touch, with the try-scoring 35-year-old one of the best on the field.

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Marika Koroibete added to the shine the semi-final weekend provided for the Wallabies coach, running in a hat-trick as Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights completed a remarkable second-half comeback to bring down Yokohama Canon Eagles.

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Yokohama led 14-3 at one point, and 17-15 at halftime, but had no answer after the break as the defending champions ran riot, scoring five tries to win the half 36-3, and the match 51-20.

Two of Koroibete’s tries started from within his own half, with the 30-year-old completing his hat-trick after a storming 50-metre blast down the line.

Former Australia under-20 centre Dylan Riley also scored for the Wild Knights against a Yokohama side who lost Springbok centre Jesse Kriel to a red card in the second half.

The conclusion of the Replacement Battle saw Mie Honda Heat gain entry to Division One, holding on to beat NEC Green Rockets 13-12, despite losing Wallabies fullback Tom Banks after 10 minutes.

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Trailing by five from the away leg, the Green Rockets, featuring Australia halfback Nick Phipps, needed a converted try in the final 10 minutes to save themselves but were unable to score.

Former Wallabies centre Curtis Rona and flyhalf Matt To’omua were try-scorers as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars beat Toyota Industries Shuttles Aichi 43-14 to retain their Division One status.

The Wycliff Palu-coached Kurita Water Gush Akishima failed in their bid for promotion to Division Two after a 38-28 loss to Kamaishi Seawaves.

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