Foley sparks Spears in Japanese club rugby

A late penalty goal from Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley has extended Kubota Spears' unbeaten start to the Japan Rugby League One season.

BERNARD FOLEY. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley's late penalty goal has allowed the Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay to remain unbeaten in Japan Rugby League One after a dramatic 40-38 win over the Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo.

The failure to secure a try-scoring bonus point meant the Spears lost the chance to go top of the standings.

Defeat was tough on the Rams, and on former Reds player Isaac Lucas, with the Queenslander having sparked his side's revival with two tries.

While his final kick was the match-winner - and he finished with a personal tally of 20 points - Foley's yellow card for unfair play after half-an-hour helped the Black Rams get back into the match, at a time when they trailed 24-0.

The Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights remain the league leaders after their thrilling 21-19 win over a gallant Yokohama Canon Eagles at Kumagaya on Saturday.

The Wild Knights fell behind for the first time in a hard-fought contest with just five minutes to play but escaped via an 80th-minute try by the Tonga-born Brave Blossoms prop Asaeli Ai Valu.

Without the competition's leading point-scorer Yu Tamura, the Eagles were left ruing stand-in goalkicker SP Marais' failure to convert Faf de Klerk's 10th-minute try, alongside another missed penalty attempt in the first half.

The Wild Knights' Japan Test five-eighth Rikiya Matsuda kicked three from three, including the match-winning conversion.

In the boilover of the round, Brisbane-schooled Will Tupou scored the try that finally settled a classic game between the Kobelco Kobe Steelers and Toyota Verblitz.

Verblitz had to defend with 12 players after three yellow cards late in the second half but held on to prevail 38-24.

Things are not improving for Will Genia's Hanazono Kintetsu Liners, who shipped 60 points during a heavy loss to in-form Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.

Although Genia was a try-scorer for his outgunned side, the fourth-placed Toshiba crossed the line nine times to make it 17 for the week, after Todd Blackadder's side pummelled Verblitz 63-25 in the previous round.

Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath remain third after romping to a 51-13 win over the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sagamihara Dynaboars, with former All Black Aaron Cruden scoring 16 points on his return from a two-game suspension.

Michael Cheika's NEC Green Rockets were held scoreless as the Shizuoka Blue Revs, led by Springboks flanker Kwagga Smith, recorded their first win of the season with a 21-0 victory.

In the lower divisions, Toyota Heavy Industries Shuttles Aichi outclassed Kamaishi Seawaves 64-14 to stay third in Division Two, while two tries from former Melbourne Rebels winger Tom English helped Wycliff Palu's Kurita Water Gush Akishima upset the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 37-32.