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Yamasawa scores 25 as Wild Knights stay unbeaten in 43 games

TOKYO (AP) — Flyhalf Takuya Yamasawa scored 25 points as defending champions the Saitama Wild Knights beat the previously unbeaten Kubota Spears 30-15 in Japan League One rugby on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to 43 games.

Yamasawa outplayed his Spears counterpart, Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley and showed why he was Man of the Match in last year’s Grand Final. The 28-year-old also scored a try for Japan in its narrow loss to the All Blacks in October and is rated by many as the most influential player in the Japan professional league.

The Wild Knights came from two points down at halftime to comfortably win the 10th-round match. Yamasawa scored two of his team’s three tries, kicked five from five off the tee and slotted a pivotal second half dropped goal which killed off the Spears’ hopes after they had threatened to mount a comeback.

The win extended Saitama’s remarkable unbeaten sequence to 43, of which 42 are victories. As well as being the fourth time that the Spears had fallen during that run, the performance also sent a stern warning to last year’s finalists Suntory Sungoliath, who the Wild Knights meet in Tokyo next week.

Yamasawa has now scored 58 points in the last three weeks, after hauls of 17 against Kintetsu and 16 against Kobe. That tally includes four tries.

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