Fukuoka, Matsuda lead Wild Knights into semifinals – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Fukuoka, Matsuda lead Wild Knights into semifinals

Written by on May 8, 2021

Japan international Kenki Fukuoka scored a try and fellow Brave Blossom Rikiya Matsuda kicked 10 points to lift Panasonic Wild Knights into the semifinals of the Japan Rugby Top League playoffs with a 32-17 win over Canon Eagles on Saturday.

In the day’s other quarterfinal, Jamie Henry scored two tries and Kieran Read, New Zealand’s 2019 World Cup captain, scored another for Toyota Verblitz in their 33-29 win over NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, ending the season for another All Black from the last World Cup, TJ Perenara.

Kenki Fukuoka of Panasonic Wild Knights beats Canon Eagles’ defense to score a try in their 32-17 Top League playoff quarterfinal win in Kumagaya on May 8, 2021. (Kyodo)

The Wild Knights and Verblitz will play next Saturday in the semifinals at Osaka’s Hanazono Rugby Ground.

On Sunday, Kobe Kobelco Steelers will play Kubota Spears for the right to play Suntory Sungoliath in the other semifinal a week later. Suntory advanced to the semifinals after their quarterfinal opponents, Ricoh Black Rams were unable to field a team due to coronavirus infections within the club.

Kieran Read (8) of Toyota Verblitz is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a try in the team’s 33-29 win over NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in their Top League playoff quarterfinal at Egao Kenko Stadium in Kumamoto on May 8, 2021. (Kyodo)

The May 23 final will be the last hurrah for the Top League, which will be replaced by a new three-tier league starting in January 2022.

Related coverage:

Rugby: Medical school-bound Kenki Fukuoka to play rest of Top League season

Rugby: World Cup icon Goromaru ends career in playoff loss

Rugby: Kintetsu Liners clear 1st Top League playoff hurdle

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