Round 1 Report
The heavy rain started right before kick-off as 27,871 people, a record number of spectators for the Top League, showed up to see the first union of the season at Toyota Stadium.
Immediately after kick-off, Yamaha took advantage of Toyota’s fouls and made an aggressive play in front of Toyota’s goal area. But heavy rain obstructed vision and the pitch was flooded with rain water, stopping Yamaha from scoring. Keeping the ball from a line-out only minutes away from the end of the first half, Toyota’s imposing forwards joined a maul and advanced for a try. The first half ended with the score at 0-5 in Toyota’s favor.
Rain stopped for the second half, and the puddles on the pitch drained away. Yamaha got their groove back as the second half opened. At 7 minutes of the second half, Yamaha picked up the ball from a high punt, which lead to a cross play by Mose Tuiali’i and Chikara Ito and a try in the center by Ito. Ayumu Goromaru made a conversion - the first goal since his return to Yamaha - making it a 7-5 score with Yamaha in the lead.
At 14 minutes into the second half, Toyota made a penalty goal, leaving Yamaha one point behind. But Yamaha forwards scrummaged and pressured Toyota, regaining the lead in the game. Yamaha’s play forced a foul by Toyota, leading to a line-out. At 22 minutes, Yamaha kept up its aggressive attacks resulting in a Gerhard van den Heever center goal try. The conversion was a success, putting Yamaha ahead of Toyota at 14-8.
Although Toyota then made a penalty goal, Yamaha made repeated tackles during the last play. Then, as a Toyota player dropped the ball, Goromaru kicked it out toward the back stand as the referee blew his whistle signaling the end of the game. Yamaha had won its opening game for the 8th consecutive season.