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Watch: Aaron Cruden and Marika Koroibete shine in wild League One clash

By Sam Smith
(Source/J Sports)

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Former All Black first five Aaron Cruden and Wallaby winger Marika Koroibete starred for their respective sides in a wild Japan Rugby League one clash between the Kolbeco Steelers and Panasonic Wild Knights.


The two clubs have been powerhouses of the formerly named Top League, and combined for 78 points in a thrilling 41-37 encounter at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium.

Robbie Deans’ Panasonic side came back from a 24-8 deficit late in the first half to storm home and secure the win, propelled by another starring performance from Wallabies star Marika Koroibete.

But it was Aaron Cruden who made a statement early, snatching an inside pass for a long range intercept to put the Steelers up 7-0. A shortwhile later, Kobe had another intercept try when a wild offload five metres out from their own goal line was picked off by halfback Atsushi Hiwasa.

When Aaron Cruden laid on a try assist for fullback Ryohei Yamanaka early in the second half, the game looked secured for the Steelers as Cruden’s conversion made it 31-15.

It was Koroibete who sliced through on a set-piece strike move before setting up his other wing Koki Takeyama to give Panasonic some hope of comeback at 30-22, before two Cruden penalty goals extended the lead to 37-22.

In the final fifteen minutes, Koroibete scored a brace, firstly barging over through Cruden off the back of the maul and then beating his opposite man one-on-one to score in the corner to bring Panasonic within touching distance at 37-34.


One of Japan’s World Cup heroes, hooker Shota Horie, then scored a rolling maul try with time up on the clock to steal a famous victory for the Wild Knights.


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