Dan Carter shares in another title

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    16 Dec 2018     Getty Images

The game was also the All-Japan Championship final. The win was only the second league title win for Kobe since their first season in 2003-04 while the Championship crown was its 11th and first since 2000-01.

Suntory were looking for a third consecutive league title but succumbed when Kobe turned on a stunning display of 15-man rugby.

Carter, who is in the first season of a two-year deal with the side, said its defence was vital to the win.

"That's probably something we are more proud of than the 50 points we scored," Carter said.

The win had been a special one and a source of pride, he said.

Kobe coach Dave Dillon said: "You get what you prepare for and our preparation was awesome, especially leading into this game."

Carter, 36, landed five conversions and a penalty goal in the win while fellow New Zealander Hayden Parker added a conversion. Highlanders lock Tom Franklin was among the try scorers for the champions. Other New Zealanders in the club are Richard Buckman and Andy Ellis while Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper is also in the side.

Beaten Suntory captain Yutaka Nagare said: "Kobe were very good for the full80 minutes and we simply couldn't play our style of rugby."

Dillon acknowledged the role of the experienced players in his side.

"They are world-class players and world-class men in their giving of time and understanding of how to grow the environment. We are lucky to have a number who are over 30 who are Japanese and (foreigners)," he said.

"Rugby in Kobe has been around for 90 years and we've taken those values and beliefs and put them into our culture. We are a tight group and that's why we were able to put in a performance like today," he said.