Damian McKenzie and Israel Folau starring in Japan

Damian McKenzie's precise boot saw the former Chiefs and All Blacks utility score 23 points on his debut on the Japanese club scene.

Dianne Manson / Getty Images

Damian McKenzie’s precise boot saw the former Chiefs and All Blacks utility score 23 points on his debut on the Japanese club scene.

Damian McKenzie had no problem filling Beauden Barrett’s chunky boots as he made an impressive start to his Japanese club rugby career.

McKenzie, succeeding compatriot All Black Barrett as a star import at Tokyo Sungoliath, was instrumental in their 60-46 win over Brave Lupus in the opening weekend of the revamped 2022 League One season. .

McKenzie scored nine goals – four conversions and five penalties – for 23 points.

Playing at the back, he unleashed many counterattacks in the highscore affair.

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Recalled Wallaby Sean McMahon has scored three tries for the Sungoliath who are looking to do better this year after finishing second in 2021.

Meanwhile, controversial Australian cross-code star Israel Folau has made a winning comeback in rugby by joining the Japanese scene.

He scored two tries in the Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu’s 24-23 win over the Kobelco Kobe Steelers.

Israel Folau showed his old form in a fresh start with rugby in Japan.

Matt Roberts / Getty Images

Israel Folau showed his old form in a fresh start with rugby in Japan.

It was Folau’s first official rugby match since his controversial split from Rugby Australia in 2019. He has since played in the league in France and on the Gold Coast, but is now back in business in Japan.

Kicking off the 2022 season has not been without problems with Robbie Deans’ champion Saitama Wild Knights forced to forfeit the Kubota Spears due to player inviolability due to the Covid pandemic.

The game between the Toyota Verblitz and the Shizuoka Blue Revs has also been called off.

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