A penalty from Ryohei Yoshida a minute from time saw Toshiba beat Kintetsu Liners 22-19, as the Brave Lupus wrapped up third spot in Pool B. A defeat for the five-time champions would have seen Kubota Spears finish in the top four, but Yoshida held his nerve to ensure Toshiba start the second stage with two bonus points.
Kintetsu, meanwhile, ended the first stage in sixth spot and will start the second stanza with three bonus points to their name as they battle it out to avoid relegation from the bottom group.
Jaque Fourie celebrated signing a new two-year deal with the Steelers by touching down twice as Kobe beat NTT Communications Shining Arcs 33-11 in a winner takes all clash. Fourie’s brace sees him finish the first half of the season as the top scorer with eight, and ensures Kobe, for whom Josh Blackie also scored a try, finish third in Pool A.
NTT Comms will take four bonus points with them when they start the second stage in the bottom group by virtue of finishing fifth after seven games.
In the day’s other game, Toyota Shokki Shuttles downed Kyuden Voltex 54 -19. Rikiya Asami grabbed a hat-trick of tries for the Shuttles, who finished sixth in Pool A. The defeat means Kyuden, who finished eighth, are the only side to go through the first stage without picking up a single point.
The league now takes a break while Japan take on the All Blacks and play four games in Europe, and competition resumes on the weekend of Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.