(Daily Yomiuri, 25 July 1997. Kyodo News.)
The JRFU announced on Wednesday a new three-tiered
formula for determining the All-Japan rugby champions,
after nearly a decade of one-sided contests between
corporate and collegiate champions.
Under the new format the corporate champion will
receive a bye to the Jan. 25 national championship
game next year while the top two university squads
and the second and third-place company teams will
compete in a championship ladder formula.
The collegiate championship game will be held
Jan. 10 with the corporate championship and
third place matches scheduled for the following day.
On Jan. 15 the collegiate champion will meet the
third-place winner in the corporate tournament
and the two runners-up will meet in the first
round of the championship playoff.
The winners of both first-round games will
meet in a semifinal match on Jan. 18, with the
winner there advancing up the ladder to the
championship final against the corporate
The new formula will replace the one-game
showdown between the winners of the corporate
and collegiate championships that had been used
to determine the national champion since 1964.
The corporate champions have won 26 of the
34 All-Japan finals and have a nine-match
winning streak - including Kobe Steel's 102-14
whitewash of Daito Bunka University in 1995
and Toshioba Fuchu's 69-8 romp over Meiji
University last February.
After this year's final, the JRFU expressed
concern that the All-Japan final had become too
much of a mismatch in favor of the more talented
corporate league teams.
"Lang may yer lum reek." (May your chimney smoke for a long time).
A Japanese Rugby Site (in English)