Top League in Japan has ended for another year with an almighty bang showcasing showcasing a Grand Final win from Suntory against Panasonic.
After smashing NEC (56-8) in the semi-final, Suntory went into the final clash as clear favourites. Suntory Coach Eddie Jones described Panasonic as, “a team that keeps coming at you.” Suntory had their work cut out for them but it came down to the points scored by the thrilling hat-trick scored by this season’s MVP, George Smith. A collaborative and tight team effort led to the team winning 47-28 and obtaining the trophy for the second time in four years.
This season in Top League was a good one and this is evidenced by the amount of support from fans -338 543 people flocked to see games in the 2011-2012.
Play-off games are still being held to determine who will stay, go, or enter into Top League for next season. The two upcoming games are: Sanix v Toyota and NTT Docomo v Kubota. Whoever loses out of these two games will be relegated to their respective regional leagues. A recent victory from Fukuoka’s Kyuden Voltex sees the team once again join the Top League ranks –something the team is ecstatic to be part of once again.
So, where did all the teams end up in the competition?
1. Suntory Sungoliaths
2. Toshiba Brave Lupus
3. Panasonic Wild Knights
4. NEC Green Rockets
5. Kintetsu Liners
6. Kobelco Steelers
7. Ricoh Black Rams
8. Yamaha Jubilo
9. NTT Shining Arcs
10. Toyota Verblitz
11. Sanix Blues
12. NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes
13. Honda Heat
14. Coca Cold West Sparks
Due to their final positions in the ladder, Honda Heat and Coca Cola West Sparks have been relegated to their respective regional leagues. It is in these leagues that they will once again battle it out with other teams to regain their spot.
With the play-off games yet to come, the official list of teams for the 2012-2013 season is yet to be finalised. But rest-assured, I’ll be able to provide you with all the information you need to know about Top League in the coming year.