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Sam Cane scores as Tokyo Sungoliath mount wild comeback after 29-point deficit

By Ben Smith
Eddie Jones (R), Director of rugby of Suntory Sungoliath, and Sam Cane of Suntory Sungoliath. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

All Blacks captain Sam Cane and Springboks star Cheslin Kolbe were part of a wild Japan Rugby League One fixture as the Tokyo Sungoliath won an epic 36-34 thriller over the Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars.


The crazy contest saw the Sungoliath fall behind by 29-0 in the first half as the Dynaboars came out with a dream start in wet conditions getting up 19-0 after 12 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse for Tokyo when Mitsubishi’s fullback Matt Vaega snatched an intercept and ran 75 metres to score and extend the lead even further.

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A long-range penalty by James Grayson piled on more pain after a kick return by Kolbe was turned over near halfway for a 29-0 lead just 22 minutes into the contest.

It took a try from Australian lock Trevor Hosea from close range to give the Sungoliath some hope with their first score of the game near the half hour mark.

A double strike on either side of half-time, one to All Black captain Cane who scored from a classic openside support line on the inside, changed the complex of the game completely.

The Dynaboars saw their lead evaporate completely as Suntory took an improbable 31-29 lead when Japanese international Yutaka Nagare pounced on a loose ball following a deflected kick.


Remarkably, the home side re-took the lead 34-31 with their first try of the second half and looked to have held on for the win following the Sungoliath’s dramatic comeback.

Four minutes into injury time with the clock in the red Tokyo Sungoliath stole the win with a try to centre Shogo Nakano in the corner to break Dynaboars hearts.


The great escape kept Tokyo in third place in the ladder, behind the final two undefeated teams, Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.

The Wild Knights pounded Mie Honda Heat by 70-12 in the other Saturday game, with Australian Brave Blossom Dylan Riley and Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete both scoring doubles.


Springbok lock Lood de Jager also bagged a try while inside centre Damian de Allende took over the kicking duties with one from three conversions and one penalty goal.




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