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Former All Black No 8 given red card in Japan for counter-ruck

By Kim Ekin
(Source/J Sports)

Former All Black and Highlanders loose forward Jackson Hemopo was issued a red card in the Japan Rugby League One clash after a counter-ruck attempt between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars and the Shizuoka Blue Revs.


The 29-year-old Dynaboar lowered the shoulder to put pressure on the Blue Revs ruck as former Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall prepared to launch a box kick.

The Blues Revs were in the process of forming the infamous caterpillar ruck when Hemopo attemped to disrupt it.

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But the former All Black’s shoulder hit a Blue Revs prop in the head who was crouched low to the ground and decided to duck into the contact.

Hemopo appealed to the referee that the prop was sealing off the ruck with his knees on the ground before attempting to remove him.

The incident just 27 minutes into the contest saw the Kiwi loose forward sent from the field for the dangerous play.

The Blues Revs were leading 7-3 at the time after Hall had scored the first try from a long break on a short side play down the blindside.


The former Crusaders’ No 9 was then sin-binned himself early into the second half after committing a professional foul.

The Dynaboars placed a clever chip kick into the Blue Revs in-goal which Hall batted dead to prevent the opposition from scoring.

The act cost Shizuoka a penalty try and evened up the numbers momentarily as Mitsubishi took the lead.

Holding a 23-20 lead with less than 30 seconds to play, the Blue Revs got their own penalty try from a rolling maul that sealed the win.


In other League One action, former All Black first five Aaron Cruden starred in a 32-7 win over NEC Green Rockets.

After kicking a penalty to opening the scoring for Suntory Sungoliath, Cruden went close to scoring himself but was held up over the line.

On a scrum play inside his own 22, the No 10 hit a perfect cross-field kick to his winger Seiya Ozaki who had some smooth moves to beat his man.

A second kick by Ozaki back in field found its way into the path of inside centre Ryodo Nakamura and Cruden backing up on the inside.

The former All Black allowed his midfielder to scoop the ball and score under the posts before he kicked the extras.

Tevita Li and Nakamura powered over for two more tries early in the second half after a yellow card to Welsh lock Jake Ball.

Cruden then grabbed his own try after the Green Rockets failed to diffuse a Sungoliath box kick. The loose ball bounced up for the No 10 to scoot away and score in the corner.

The Sungoliath scored one more from a rolling maul to record a resounding 32-7 win in torrential conditions.

Panasonic Wild Knights kept their undefeated season in tact with their 13th win of the season over Toyota Verblitz, while Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay stayed in second place with a 23-14 win over Kobelco Kobe Steelers.

Watch Jackson Hemopo’s red card against Shizuoka Blue Revs below.


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