Wallabies abroad: Smith vs Pocock in All-Japan Cup

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Two of Australia’s greatest backrowers will go head-to-head in Tokyo on Sunday, as Panasonic and Suntory Sungoliath vie for the All-Japan Championship.

Smith was named in the Top League’s team of the year after playing in the league-winning Suntory side and showing his evergreen form yet again.

The 36-year-old will start at openside for Suntory, combining with his future Reds teammate Hendrik Tui in the Sungoliaths backrow.

Pocock will play at number eight for the Wild Knights, in his final game of rugby before heading to South Africa to begin his year-long rugby sabbatical.

Capped Wallabies lock Daniel Heenan will also start for the Wild Knights, with hulking winger Taqele Naiyaravoro coming off the bench.

Suntory beat Teiko University in its semi final last week, while Panasonic got the better of fellow Top League team Yamaha Jubilo.

Meanwhile, a handful of Aussies are battling to keep their teams in the Top League - Mark Gerrard will play fullback for the Toyota Industries Shuttles in their relegation playoff, while Anthony Fainga’a will be at outside centre for the Kintetsu Liners.

TOP 14

Toulon’s Wallabies contingent will kick off a big weekend of Top 14 action, after a fortnight’s break for the European competitions.

Matt Giteau will steer Toulon at flyhalf against La Rochelle as they fight to stop the surprise packets of the competition stealing top spot, while Liam Gill will come off the bench.

Will Genia will start at scrumhalf for Stade Francais when they take on Grenoble, with Peter Kimlin at blindside flanker for his side.

Will Genia played in his first French win. Photo: AFPBen Mowen will play at six for 11th-placed Pau against top four side, Toulouse.

Joe Tomane has moved back to inside centre for Montpellier’s clash with Castres, the only Australian lining up for Jake White’s side in the match.

Mike Harris will be chief playmaker for Lyon against Dan Carter’s Racing 92 this weekend, as the Top 14 battlers try to pull off a major upset.

Teams for Bordeaux’s clash with Clermont are yet to be confirmed.

The UK Premiership is currently on a break due to the Six Nations.