The hype from the Rugby World Cup has not died down in Japan with the Top League recording record attendances during the opening round of the competition on Sunday.
The season got off to a late start, five months in fact, to accommodate the Rugby World Cup with the competition now benefitting from the after-effects of the competition.
The opening weekend saw a number of high profile players make their debuts in the competition with other making their first starts for their new sides. Amongst the stars were World Cup winners Kwagga Smith, Malcolm Marx, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Duane Vermeulen, RG Snyman and Willie Le Roux. While there were another high profile debuts for Australians Samu Kerevi and Bernard Foley.
The return of Dan Carter, having last played in December 2018, would have also drawn in the crowds so would of the debuts for All Blacks Ryan Crotty and Brodie Retallick.
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) January 13, 2020
116,737 fans attended the opening eight games of the opening round of the competition. This is an increase of 39% compared to the opening round of last season.
According to the attendance numbers provided by the official Top League website, Kobe Steelers clash with Canon Eagles drew the biggest crowd of 23 004 while Sanix Blues clash with Green Rockets drew a modest total of 7 216 spectators.
Attendances from round one:
Kobe Steelers v Canon Eagles - 23,004
Brave Lupus v Suntory Sungoliath - 21 564
Wild Knights v Kubota Spears - 17,722
Red Dolphins v Shining Arcs - 17,072
Jubilo v Verblitz - 13,985
Red Hurricanes v Dynaboars - 8 856
Black Rams v Heat - 7,318
Sannix Blues v Green Rockets Rockets - 7 216