Japan Rugby League One: Four Springboks and one Wallaby named in Best XV
Following the conclusion of the Japan Rugby League One season, the Best XV and individual award winners have been announced.
The tournament concluded at the weekend with the Kubota Spears defeating the Panasonic Wild Knights 17-15 in the final to win the competition for the first time.
Following their success in the competition, the Spears have four players in the Best XV, as do the losing finalists, while Suntory Sungoliath and the Toyota Verblitz have two representatives each.
The rest of the team is made up of players from the Canon Eagles and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.
Kwagga Smith named Player of the Year
Four Springboks make the team, with Malcolm Marx, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kwagga Smith named in the pack and Faf de Klerk at scrum-half. Smith also picked up the Player of the Season award for the top division.
Panasonic Wild Knights have three players in the backline in full-back Ryuji Noguchi and centres Dylan Riley and Tomoki Osada.
Suntory Sungoliath wing Seiya Ozaki finished the season as the top scorer and is named in the side along with Kubota Spears flyer Haruto Kida.
Wallabies playmaker Bernard Foley claims the fly-half spot with De Klerk at scrum-half. Foley scored 173 points throughout the season, the most in the competition, including four penalties in the final.
Shizuoka Blue Revs star Smith claims the number eight jersey after he was voted the Player of the Season by his peers. He is joined in the back-row by Springbok team-mate Du Toit. Toyota Verblitz star Kazuki Himeno completes the loose trio.
Suntory’s Harry Hockings and Toshiba Brave Lupus’ Warner Dearns claimed the lock positions, the former also collecting the Best Tackler award.
In the front-row, Marx takes the hooker slot and is joined up front by team-mate Opeti Helu and the Wild Knights’ Keita Inagaki. Both props made the team of the tournament for a second year running.
NTT JAPAN RUGBY LEAGUE ONE 2022-23 AWARDS
– ベストフィフティーン –
＜PR3＞オペティ・ヘル （クボタスピアーズ船橋・東京ベイ）… pic.twitter.com/QUfwLliADS
— JAPAN RUGBY LEAGUE ONE｜リーグワン🏉 (@LeagueOne_JP) May 22, 2023
Meanwhile, Los Pumas forward Pablo Matera claimed the Player of the Season award in the second division.
JRLO Best XV and award winners
Japan Rugby League One Best XV: 15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Seiya Ozaki, 13 Tomoki Osada, 12 Dylan Riley, 11 Haruto Kida, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Warner Dearns, 3 Opeti Helu, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Keita Inagaki
Division 1 Player of the Season: Kwagga Smith
Top points scorer: Bernard Foley – 173
Most tries: Seiya Ozaki – 18
Division 2 Player of the Season: Pablo Matera
Division 3 Player of the Season: Taichi Yoshizawa
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