WATCH: Ngani Laumape and Israel Folau score hat-tricks in Japan Rugby League One

Ngani Laumape opened his Japan Rugby League One account by scoring three times for Kobe Kobelco Steelers against Kintetsu Liners on Saturday, while Israel Folau grabbed three more tries for Urayasu D-Rocks. Credit: Alamy
Ngani Laumape opened his Japan Rugby League One account by scoring three times for Kobe Kobelco Steelers against Kintetsu Liners on Saturday, while Israel Folau grabbed three more tries for Urayasu D-Rocks. Credit: Alamy

Ngani Laumape opened his Japan Rugby League One account by scoring three times for Kobe Kobelco Steelers against Kintetsu Liners on Saturday, while Israel Folau grabbed three more tries for Urayasu D-Rocks.

Laumape made the move to Japan after being granted an early release from his Stade Francais contract in August.

Kobe’s hat-trick heroes

Laumape and half-back Daiki Nakajima crossed three times for the Steelers as they thumped Hanazono Kintetsu Liners 58-29.

The victory saw Kobe climb to sixth place in the league standings after one win and a loss.

Although Laumape featured in Kobe’s opening-day defeat to Canan Eagles, it took until his second game to score his first points in the competition.

Kobe went behind early on in the match, but a quick-fire double from Laumape gave his side a 14-7 lead.

In the 12th minute, he rampaged through two defenders and rode the tackle from a third to reach out and score for the first. A flowing kick return attack ended with the former All Black receiving an offload from Shinsuke Iseki to run in a second try in the 16th minute.

His brace and another try from Kenta Matsuoka gave Kobe a 29-21 half-time lead.

He rounded out his hat-trick shortly after half-time, benefitting from another lethal kick return attack. He got the ball in space near the opposition’s 10-metre line and sprinted into the 22, dummying a pass before dotting down.

The 29-year-old left the pitch before the hour mark, having racked up 102 running metres beating eight defenders.

His scrum-half Nakajima scored before half-time and added scores in the 47th and 54th minutes. Michael Little and Ataata Moeakiola added further tries to seal the 58-36 win.

Folau’s triple

Former Wallaby Folau also dotted down three times this weekend as he helped the Urayasu D-Rocks to a comprehensive 68-17 victory over Shimizu Koto Blue Sharks in Japan’s second division.

He has now scored four tries in the opening two matches, the first was two minutes into the 35-27 win over Honda Heat.

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