Springbok centre Jesse Kriel continued his roadshow through the Japan Top League with a brilliant performance for his Canon Eagles side in their must-win clash over NTT Shining Arcs to qualify for the quarterfinals in the finals series.
Kriel dispatched his World Cup-winning teammate Malcolm Marx, who plays for the Shining Arcs as Canon ran away 43-13 winners on the back of a starring performance from the Springbok midfielder.
Running a bounce line outside Japanese international Yu Tamura, Kriel exploded through the Shining Arcs front line defence before putting his South African compatriot SP Marias for a walk-in try.
Kriel followed up that effort with nearly a carbon copy line break, putting some fancy footwork on NTT prop Kabuto Anoku leaving the tight five forward tripping. With SP Marias looming in support, this time the 27-year-old decided to back himself around the outside on Scotland international Greig Laidlaw.
The Springbok left Laidlaw on the turf as he scooted around the posts for the score before busting out Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature goal scoring celebration and sharing a laugh with his South African teammates SP Marias and Jacobus van Dyk.
Kriel almost had his double in the second half taking a crash ball off his halfback, but the ball spilled backward to Australian Ed Quirk who picked it up and dived over.
SP Marias scored his double with seven minutes remaining to put the match beyond any doubt.
Canon Eagles will need another big performance from Kriel in their quarterfinal showing against powerhouse Panasonic Wild Knights, who also have a powerful centre prospect in Australian Dylan Riley.
Recently selected in Japan’s training squad, the resident-qualified Riley scored a try in his side’s crushing 54-7 win over Kinetsu Liners featuring former Wallaby stars Quade Cooper and Will Genia.
In the other quarterfinal fixtures, the dream season for TJ Perenara’s NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes continues with a finals clash against the star studded Toyota Verblitz, while Suntory host the Ricoh Black Rams and Kubota Spears play Kobelco Steel.
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