Top League Champions Cup

Last updated

Top League Champions
Sport Rugby union football
Inaugural season 2004
Country Japan
Holders Suntory Sungoliath (5th title)
(2018)
Most titles Toshiba Brave Lupus &
Suntory Sungoliath (5 titles each)
Website www.top-league.jp
Yoshiaki Fujimori presents the 2016 Lixil Cup trophy to Panasonic captain Shota Horie. Lixil Cup presentation 2016.jpg
Yoshiaki Fujimori presents the 2016 Lixil Cup trophy to Panasonic captain Shota Horie.

The Top League Championship is Japan's highest-level knockout tournament for rugby union clubs. Held annually, the leading teams from the Top League regular season qualify for the playoffs to decide the Cup title. From 2018 onward, the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship has doubled as the Top League Championship Cup. Previously, teams competed for the Lixil Cup, from 2014 to 2016, [1] and Microsoft Cup (prior to 2009).

Contents

The Top League competition is a Japanese industrial league that presently consists of sixteen teams, all owned by major companies.

Initially sponsored by Microsoft Japan, the knockout tournament was first contested by the top eight teams from the Top League in 2004. It was considered a separate competition to the Top League for the first three seasons but was officially integrated for the 2006–07 season. The number of teams was also cut to four to give a format of two semi-finals and a final, and from that time onward until the 2016–17 season the winner of the knockout cup was recognised as the Top League champion.

There were no title-play-offs in 2016–17, and the team on top of the league after the round-robin stage won the Top League title.

Overall

Summary totals for all Top League championships up to and including 2018:

TeamChampionshipsRunners-upSemi-final lossesPremierships
Toshibabravelupus.png Toshiba Brave Lupus 5345
Suntorycolours.png Suntory Sungoliath 53 2+3
PanasonicWildKnights.png Panasonic Wild Knights 145 3^5
Kobesteelers.png Kobelco Steelers  1*0 5^3
Yamahajubilo.png Yamaha Júbilo 03 2+0
Kubotaspears.png Kubota Spears 0110
Toyotaverblitz.png Toyota Verblitz 0060
NECgreenrockets.png NEC Green Rockets  0*020

Notes:

 1 The Panasonic Wild Knights summary includes results for the Sanyo Wild Knights from 2003 to 2012.
 * NEC won the 2004 Microsoft Cup but Kobe Steel was the Top League champion. These were separate competitions prior to 2007.
 ^ The 2004 Kobe Steel and Sanyo (Panasonic) semi-final appearances are included, although that cup was not part of the championship.
 + Yamaha was 3rd and Suntory 4th in the 2003–04 Top League championship, but these results are not counted as semi-final appearances.

Tournaments

Teams listed are those that qualified from the Top League for the title play-offs in each season, or the top four teams where there were no play-offs. Results of the play-offs are written so that the score of the team in each row is mentioned first.

Legend
Cup winner
(knockout play-offs).
Pos = Log Position, P = Games Played, W = Games Won, D = Games Drawn, L = Games Lost, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Diff = Points Difference, TB = Try Bonus Points, LB = Losing Bonus Points, SP = Starting Points for Group Stage, Pts = Log Points, Semi = Semi-final, Refs = References
Dagger-14-plain.pngTop League title winner.

Suntory Sungoliath 12–8 Panasonic Wild Knights

Top League and All-Japan titles: 2017 onward

There were no title-play-offs in 2018, and the team on top of the league after the round-robin stage was crowned the Top League title winner. However, the top three teams progressed to the All-Japan Championship.

The All-Japan Championship doubled as the Top League Champions Cup title from 2018 onward, with university teams excluded.

Top League and All-Japan title (2017present)
YearCup periodPosTeamTop League regular seasonPlay-offsRef
PtsWDLPFPADiffTBLBSemiFinal
2018 6 January
to
13 January
1 White Panasonic Wild Knights 631300580142+43811017–118–12 [2]
1 Red Suntory Sungoliath Dagger-14-plain.png551201450180+2707049–712–8
2 White Yamaha Júbilo 46904440232+208827–49
2 Red Toyota Verblitz 461003394288+1064211–17
2017 21 January
to
29 January
1 Suntory Sungoliath Dagger-14-plain.png711500563184+37911052–2915–10 [3]
2 Yamaha Júbilo 671401580208+37211024–36
3 Panasonic Wild Knights 621302579268+3119136–2410–15
4 Kobelco Steelers 481005473328+14571
Logo 2014-2016 Lixil Cup logo.png
Logo 2014–2016

Lixil Cup and Top League title: 2014 to 2016

From the 2013–14 season, the Top League tournament was contested by sixteen teams. The top four teams from the league competition (or the top eight in 2016) advanced to the play-offs to compete for the Lixil Trophy and Top League Championship.

Lixil Trophy and Top League Championship play-offs (2014–2016)
YearCup periodPosTeamTop League regular seasonCup play-off resultsRef
PtsWDLPFPADiffTBLBSPQtrSemiFinal
2016 9 January
to
24 January
1A Panasonic Wild Knights Dagger-14-plain.png316102901371535048–642–1027–26 [4]
1B Yamaha Jubilo 29601226140865027–622–34
2A Toshiba Brave Lupus 265112531001534029–1734–2226–27
2B Kobelco Steelers 27502235137985242–1010–42
3A Kintetsu Liners 23502189193-43010–42
3B Toyota Verblitz 26502203125785117–29
4A NTT Com Shining Arcs 2240319014248426–27
4B Canon Eagles 2550219614254416-48
2015 24 January
to
1 February
1 Kobelco Steelers 29502242113+12941412–41 [5]
2 Panasonic Wild Knights Dagger-14-plain.png29502218131+8750450–1530–12
3 Toshiba Brave Lupus 28502213147+6641315–50
4 Yamaha Júbilo 27502165134+3141241–1212–30
2014 1 February
to
9 February
1 Panasonic Wild Knights Dagger-14-plain.png3670022410511940455–1545–22 [6]
2 Suntory Sungoliath 326012611699240427–1922–45
3 Kobelco Steelers 244032231942951219–27
4 Toshiba Brave Lupus 234031811513023215–55

Play-offs and Top League title: 2010 to 2013

Microsoft Cup logo.png
Magnify-clip (sans arrow).svg Microsoft Cup banner 2005–2009.

Microsoft Cup and Top League title: 2007 to 2009

For the 2006–07 season the tournament was expanded to fourteen teams and the Top League and Microsoft Cup competitions were combined. Only the top four teams on the regular season table progressed to title play-offs and the winner of the knockout competition was awarded both the Microsoft Cup and the Top League title.

Video referee (TMO) decisions were introduced for the 2009 Cup series. The naming rights partnership with Microsoft for the knockout competition ended after the 2009 Cup final.

Top League Championship play-off tournament (20072013)
YearCup periodPosTeamTop League regular seasonPlay-off resultsRef
PtsWDLPFPADiffTBLBSemiFinal
2009 17 February
to
24 February
1 Toshiba Brave Lupus Dagger-14-plain.png591201563211+35211026–717–6 [7]
2 Sanyo Wild Knights 581201584197+38710032–226–17
3 Suntory Sungoliath 511003482298+18410122–32
4 Kobelco Steelers 43904358300+58526–27
2008 17 February
to
24 February
1 Sanyo Wild Knights 631300593170+42311025–2110–14 [8]
2 Suntory Sungoliath Dagger-14-plain.png531012453229+22410133–1014–10
3 Toyota Verblitz 50913452269+1839310–33
4 Toshiba Brave Lupus 471012398263+1355221–25
2007 28 January
to
4 February
1 Toshiba Brave Lupus Dagger-14-plain.png60120150223426811138–3514–13 [9]
2 Suntory Sungoliath 56110254516138410240–3913–14
3 Yamaha Jubilo 481012379306735139–40
4 Toyota Verblitz 479044482671818335–38

Top League, separate Microsoft Cup: 2004 to 2006

For the first three seasons the competition format was a single round-robin tournament contested by twelve teams, with the team finishing top of the table winning the Top League title. The Microsoft Cup was a separate knockout competition for the top eight teams in the league.

Microsoft Cup play-off tournament (20042006)
YearCup periodPosTeamTop League regular seasonPlay-off resultsRef
PtsWDLPFPADiffTBLBQtrSemiFinal
2006 22 January
to
5 February
1 Toshiba Brave Lupus Dagger-14-plain.png4690240619321310038–723–1033–18 [10]
2 Sanyo Wild Knights 429024162761406024–40
3 NEC Green Rockets 419022701361344117–1210–23
4 Toyota Verblitz 377044312631686312–17
5 Kobelco Steelers 3370428422559417–38
6 Suntory Sungoliath 32605308241676235–1744–2518–33
7 Yamaha Jubilo 285063282111174417–35
8 Kubota Spears 23416324297275040–2425–44
2005 8 February
to
28 February
1 Toshiba Brave Lupus Dagger-14-plain.png5010014631662979133–1341–0 20–6 α [11]
2 Yamaha Jubilo 459023802181628138–33 33–33 β  6–20 α
3 NEC Green Rockets 4490240725315471 16–51 γ
4 Toyota Verblitz 438034272242039242–21 33–33 β
5 Kobelco Steelers 34605326356-3082 51–16 γ 0–41
6 Kubota Spears 27506277334-576133–38
7 Sanyo Wild Knights 24407346296504421–41
8 Suntory Sungoliath 24407307282254413–33
2004 8 February
to
22 February
1 Kobelco Steelers δ Dagger-14-plain.png4790243928615311035–2710–34 [12]
2 Toshiba Brave Lupus 448125032832209139–1036–3419–24
3 Yamaha Jubilo 428213342231116010–39
4 Suntory Sungoliath 42803408265143915–32
5 World Fighting Bull 32605349285647127–35
6 NEC Green Rockets δ 305244112741376032–534–1024–19
7 Sanyo Wild Knights 24416319331-126039–3234–36
8 Kubota Spears 22409262362-1004232–39

Notes:

Toshiba Brave Lupus won the Top League and Microsoft Cup double. [13]

The number of tries and goals being equal, the result was decided in favour of Yamaha over Toyota by a lottery at Hanazono after the game.

Reigning Microsoft Cup holders the NEC Green Rockets were knocked out at the quarter final stage. [14] [15]

In 2003–04, Kobe Steel won the Top League but NEC won the Microsoft Cup. The League and Cup were separate competitions prior to 2007.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Japan Rugby Football Union is the governing body for rugby union in Japan. It was formed 30 November 1926, and organises matches for the Japan national team.

Top League

The Top League is a rugby union competition in Japan. It is the highest level of professional rugby competition in the country. The Japan Rugby Football Union created the competition in 2003, by absorbing the Japan Company Rugby Football Championship, to drive up the overall standard and popularity of the sport and improve the results of the Japan national rugby union team. The chief architect of the league was Hiroaki Shukuzawa who strongly felt the urgency of improving Japanese domestic company rugby to a professional level which would allow Japan to compete more convincingly at Rugby World Cups.

Suntory Sungoliath

Suntory Sungoliath is owned by the Suntory beverage company and is one of the Japanese rugby union teams in the Top League. The team is based in Fuchū, Tokyo, as is their local rival Toshiba Brave Lupus.

Panasonic Wild Knights

Panasonic Wild Knights is a Japanese rugby union team based in Ōta city, Gunma prefecture which plays in the Top League. Inspired by Tony Brown at fly half, it dominated the league in the fifth season and was the first team to be unbeaten throughout a Top League season.

2007–08 Top League

The 2007–08 Top League was the fifth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Sanyo Wild Knights became the first ever team in the Top League to win all their league games, but were defeated for the Top League title by Suntory Sungoliath 14-10 in the Microsoft Cup final on February 24, 2008 at Chichibunomiya.

All-Japan Rugby Football Championship

The All-Japan Rugby Football Championship is played at the end of the season and is doubling as the title playoff in the Top League. The first championship was played in 1963 and won by Doshisha University RFC which beat Kintetsu 18-3. Before that the NHK invitation cup was played three times, 1960-2.

2009–10 Top League

The 2009–10 Top League was the seventh season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Toshiba Brave Lupus defeated Sanyo Wild Knights by 6–0 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim their fifth Top League championship.

2008–09 Top League

The 2008–09 Top League was the sixth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Toshiba Brave Lupus defeated Sanyo Wild Knights by 17–6 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim the 2008–09 Top League championship.

2010–11 Top League

The 2010–11 Top League was the eighth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Sanyo Wild Knights defeated Suntory Sungoliath 28-23 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim thei first Top League title.

The 2011 The All-Japan Rugby Football Championship starts on Feb 6th and finishes with the final on Feb 27th.

The 2012 The All-Japan Rugby Football Championship took place from Feb 25th up to the final on March 18.

2011–12 Top League Japanese rugby union competition

The 2011–12 Top League was the ninth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. The Suntory Sungoliath team defeated Sanyo Wild Knights by 47–28 in the final of the Microsoft Cup to claim their second Top League championship.

2012–13 Top League

The 2012–13 Top League was the tenth season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 31 August 2012. The final was held on 27 January 2013 and won by Suntory Sungoliath to claim their third Top League title.

2013–14 Top League

The 2013–14 Top League was the 11th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 30 August 2013. The final was held on 9 February 2014 and won by Panasonic Wild Knights.

2014–15 Top League

The 2014–15 Top League was the 12th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 30 August 2014. The final was held on 8 February 2015 and won by Panasonic Wild Knights, 30–12 over Yamaha Júbilo.

50th All Japan Rugby Football Championship

The 2013 The All-Japan Rugby Football Championship took place from Feb 2nd up to the final on Feb 24th.

52nd All Japan Rugby Football Championship

The 2015 All-Japan Rugby Football Championship took place from 8 February up to the final on 28 February.

The 2014 All-Japan Rugby Football Championship took place from February 16 up to the final on March 9th.

2015–16 Top League

The 2015–16 Top League was the 13th season of Japan's domestic rugby union competition, the Top League. It kicked off on 13 November 2015 and was completed on 24 January 2016. The final was won by Panasonic Wild Knights defeating Toshiba Brave Lupus by 27–26.

Katsufumi Miyamoto is a former Japanese rugby union player and coach. He played as flanker.

References

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  2. "2017/18 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  3. "2016/17 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  4. "2015/16 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  5. "2014/15 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  6. "2013/14 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  7. "2008/09 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  8. "2007/08 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  9. "2006/07 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  10. "2005/06 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  11. "2004/05 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  12. "2003/04 Top League". The Rugby Archive.
  13. "Steelers upset Green Rockets in Microsoft Cup quarter final". The Japan Times. 24 January 2004. Archived from the original on 1 March 2005.
  14. "Brave Lupus add name to rugby Cup". The Japan Times. 7 February 2005. Archived from the original on 1 March 2005.
  15. "Official report of the 2005 final". JRFU. Archived from the original on 5 April 2005.