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Mo'unga wins battle of All Black No 10s as Barrett injured in Japan

Richie Mounga of Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

The anticipated clash between rival All Blacks No 10s lasted only 16 minutes before Beauden Barrett left the field, leaving countryman Richie Mo’unga to steer Brave Lupus to victory.


It was the boot of Mo’unga that powered Brave Lupus with three penalties building a 16-7 lead over Verblitz 51 minutes into play.

The All Black first five starred with ball-in-hand making three line breaks, on one occasion escaping the rush of Aaron Smith to rip off a monster 70 metre break which led to a penalty goal.

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All Blacks loose forward Shannon Frizell scored his sixth try which put the game beyond two scores at 21-12, before a final Mo’unga break and try assist iced the game.

Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo retained their unbeaten record by beating Toyota Verblitz 28-12. Frizell is the competition joint leading try-scorer with six.

In other action, veteran former Wallaby halfback Will Genia was sensationally sent off for the first time in his distinguished 18-year career.

Genia received two yellow-cards in nine minutes for professional fouls as his Hanazono Kintetsu Liners suffered a heavy 50-12 loss to Shizuoka Blue Revs on Saturday.


The 36-year-old’s dismissal, which came 14 minutes into the second half, didn’t have a major impact on the outcome as winless Kintetsu trailed 36-12 at the time against a Blue Revs side who have lost their skipper, Springbok loose forward Kwagga Smith, for the season after he sustained an adductor tendon injury.

Smith is one of three South Africans currently on the injured list in Japan, with halfback Faf de Klerk and centre Jesse Kriel also out long term.

De Klerk and Kriel’s Yokohama Canon Eagles were shot down by Kobelco Kobe Eagles, losing 31-27 as ex-Chiefs five-eighth Bryn Gatland scored 21 points for the winners.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s side, lifting them to seventh on the table.


Kobe are one place below Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay after the defending champions prevailed 18-17 in a thrilling finish against a Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo outfit coached by Aussie Peter Hewat.

The Black Rams looked to have won the game when a penalty try in the last minute gave them a two-point lead, but the game continued.

This allowed Kubota to steal it when South African-born Gerhard van den Heever, who was deputising for injured Wallaby Bernard Foley, kicked the winning penalty goal.

Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’ Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights are top of the championship table, with Brave Lupus two points behind.

The league now pauses for two weeks to cater for Cross Border rugby, where the Super Rugby Pacific’s Blues will play Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath and Yokohama Canon Eagles, while the Chiefs will face Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights and Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay.


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Graham 170 days ago

I am looking forward to Fergus Burke , ( Richie’s heir apparent), being back with the Crusaders in early April. He has had 2 great seasons, ( 2022-2023), for Canterbury and the Crusaders. His Achilles injury in October was a real blow. But he will bounce back, no doubt about it.

Graham 171 days ago

Todd Blackadder will be delighted with how his team is going. A folk hero in this part of the country for his play and captaincy for both Canterbury and the Crusaders. Just as his former team mate , ( who captained after him), Reuben Thorne is.Todd’s son Ethan Blackadder is a outstanding man and rugby player as well.

Pecos 172 days ago

What else is new? SRP 2023 semi-final Crusaders v Blues much?

Graham 172 days ago

Great to hear about how well Richie Mo’unga is doing for his Brave Lupus team in Japan. No surprise though. As a Crusaders fan I know how brilliant a no 10 he is. He was the ignition key in the back line in the title winning teams under Scott Robertson. A fantastic guy off the field as well. I have a lot of time for his coach over there too. Another Crusader great Todd Blackadder. A 3 times in a row winning captain for the Crusaders.

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