Four Springboks and one Wallaby named in JRLO Best XV : PlanetRugby
Following the conclusion of the Japan Rugby League One season, the top XV and individual award winners were announced.
The tournament ended over the weekend with the Kubota Spears defeating the Panasonic Wild Knights 17-15 in the finals to win the competition for the first time.
Following their success in the tournament, the Spears have four players in the Best XV, as do losing finalists, while Suntory Sungoliath and Toyota Verblitz have two representatives each.
The rest of the team consists of players from Canon Eagles and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo.
Kwagga Smith was named Player of the Year
Four Springboks make up the team, with Malcolm Marx, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kwagga Smith in the pack and Faf de Klerk in the scrum half. Smith also received the Major League Player of the Season award.
The Panasonic Wild Knights have three players in defense in full-back Ryuji Noguchi and centers Dylan Riley and Tomoki Osada.
Suntory Sungoliath winger Seiya Ozaki finished the season as the top scorer and will join the team alongside Kubota Spears flyer Haruto Kida.
Wallabies playmaker Bernard Foley secures the fly-half spot, de Klerk is the scrum-half. Foley averaged 173 points over the season, the most in the competition, including four penalties in the Finals.
Shizuoka Blue Revs star Smith grabs the number eight jersey after being voted Player of the Season by his peers. He is joined in the back row by his Springbok teammate Du Toit. Toyota Verblitz star Kazuki Himeno completes the loose trio.
Suntory’s Harry Hockings and Toshiba Brave Lupus’ Warner Dearns secured starting positions, with the former also taking the Best Tackler award.
In the front row, Marx takes the hooker’s seat, joined up front by his teammate Opeti Helu and Wild Knights’ Keita Inagaki. Both props made the team of the tournament for the second straight year.
NTT JAPAN RUGBY LEAGUE ONE 2022-23 AWARDS
– ベストフィフティーン –
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— JAPAN RUGBY LEAGUE ONE｜リーグワン🏉 (@LeagueOne_JP) May 22, 2023
Meanwhile, Los Pumas forward Pablo Matera won the Player of the Season award in the second division.
JRLO Best XV and Prize Winner
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 Scorer: Bernard Foley-173
Most attempts: Seiya Ozaki-18
Division 2 Player of the Season: Pablo Matera
Division 3 Player of the Season: Tai Chi Yoshizawa
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