Former Wallaby Matt To'omua had a wild initiation to Japan Rugby League One today, making his long-awaited debut off the bench during the Sagamihara Dynaboars' 49-30 home loss to the Kobe Steelers.
Forced to wait until week seven for his maiden appearance, the 59-cap international came on during a chaotic nine-try second half, after the more sedate first half ended in a 14-6 halftime lead for Kobe.
The visitors, who were without their injured All Black recruit Ngane Laumape, snapped a three-game losing streak with the win, going above Sagamihara into sixth position.
Top place is still held by the Saitama Wild Knights, whose coach Robbie Deans got the better of fellow former Wallabies boss Michael Cheika as the two-time defending champions thrashed the NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu 45-0.
The Australian-schooled Japanese internationals, loose forwards Jack Cornelsen and Ben Gunter, scored tries in the win, as did former Australia Under-20 representative Semisi Tupou, and former Hurricanes midfield back Vince Aso.
The unbeaten Wild Knights lead by two points from Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay, who maintained their own unbeaten record with a high scoring 44-34 win over Toyota Verblitz at Nagoya yesterday.
Having had to wait six weeks for their first win, Shizuoka Blue Revs backed up last weekend's success against the Green Rockets by overpowering Will Genia's Hanazono Kintetsu Liners 34-14 in Osaka.
Sunday's eagerly anticipated Fuchu derby didn't disappoint, with two tries by former All Black centre Seta Tamanivalu proving insufficient as Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo came up short against local rivals Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath.
Suntory, who took the bragging rights with a 40-34 victory, were led to their win by a hat-trick from the competition's leading try-scorer, winger Seiya Ozaki, who took his tally for the season to 13.
Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley is the top point-scorer in the league, with his 14 against Verblitz lifting his total for the season to 86, eight ahead of Toshiba's former Crusaders and All Black utility back, Tom Taylor.
The South Africans SP Marais (Yokohama Canon Eagles) and Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay) are the leading foreign try-scorers in Division One with five, the same number as Division Two's joint top try-scorers, Israel Folau (Urayasu) and Chance Peni (Hino).