Fourie stars in Japan - again

Mon, 20 Feb 2012 00:00

Panasonic Wild Knights had two tries' help from Jaque Fourie in their surprise victory over Toshiba Brave Lupus in the semifinal of the Japan's Top League to clinch a spot in Sunday's Final against Suntory Sungoliath at Tokyo's Chichibu Stadium.

Toshiba were favourites to beat the Wild Knights but two tries by Fourie and another two by wing Tomoki Kitagawa did much to give the Wild Knights their 37-25 victory.

In the other semifinal, Eddie Jones's Suntory Sungoliath smashed NEC Green Rockets 56-8.

There was a lot of kicking in the early part of the Wild Knights-Toshiba match but gradually the Wild Knights pack got on top especially at the breakdowns. Still the half-time score was just 9-3 to the Knights, three kicks by Atsushi Tanabe to one by David Hill.

Right at the start of the second half Toshiba hooker Hiroki Yuhara scored to make it 9-8 but then the Knights cut loose with four tries. Kitagawa kicked, chased and scored the first. Fourie ran 50 metres for the second and then got the third before Kitagawa scored again. Toshiba hid their blushes behind three late tries.

In the other semifinal Suntory, for whom Fourie du Preez and Danie Rossouw play, led 37-3 at half-time.

The Stormers will have to wait a bit longer for flyhalf Peter Grant as his Kobe Steelers beat Ricoh Blacks Rams 32-19 to earn a wild-card spot in the All-Japan Championship. Grant kicked three conversions and two penalty goals.

With Ricoh knocked out, Ma'a Nonu and James Haskell are free to say sayonara and jet south to New Zealand for the start of the Super 15; Nonu for the Blues (after moving from the Hurricanes), Haskell for the Highlanders before he returns to England.