Apologies LM, but I thought your earlier thread might be better to revive due to it having the teams and logos. Venturing onto Wikipedia, of the 12 first division sides the following two have a Japanese head coach (Wild Knights also reportedly have a Japanese head coach under Robbie Deans):
Shizuoka Blue Revs
Yokohama Canon Eagles
I think it is important that Japanese coaches can succeed next to some fairly strong SH coaches. It'll be the Yokoham Canon Eagles for me as they have my favourite Japanese player Yu Tamura in their squad. I'll have a soft spot for the Blue Revs because they have a Scottish born fellow I've never heard of (Murray Douglas, ex of Hurricanes?). Aged 32, surprised he's never apparentlg been capped by Scotland.
Seems the top 4 go to the playoffs and the bottom three enter a playoff / relegation tournament with the top three from Division 2, which sounds a bit tasty.
Details on individual teams can be found at the website below from a French speaking Japanese rugby fan called Hinato:
I'm not seeing any highlights in Engliah pop up on YouTube. Are these available on the Rugby Network website if I get a VPN to show me as being in the US?
The Blue Revs (a strange name presumably a reference to their former name Yamaha?) sadly had their match cancelled due to Covid. The Yokohama Eagles had a comfortable victory over the Green Rockets thanks in part to the selection of international winger Lemeki as flyhalf.
The Green Rockets just had one of their foreign players fired for cocaine use/possession the week before the game, but I think Cheika has maybe been on LSD or crack with that selection decision.
I think I've lucked out picking the Yokohama Eagles (and not just because they have Cory Hill bringing the razzamatazz ). I'm interested to see Yu Tamura play with a pack that is not inferior to the opposition. Unsurprisingly he bosses the game. A lovely pair of grubbers early on.
To me Tamura is similar to Finn Russell (prior to his move to France), woefully underrated because for Japan and the Sunwolves he has to play in a rush and on the back foot because his pack is being dominated. It seems he'll see out his playing days in Japan, but if language issues could have been overcome I'm sure he could have graced any team in a top European league.
Early days, but nice to see a Japanese coached side top of the table, above sides coached by supposed top class expat talent.
Just to confirm, at the time of typing if in the UK you can view the selected JRLO matches shown by the rugby network (both live and replay) with English commentary at the link below without a VPN. Only a 5 second sign up is required.