Sample ImageTokyo Cup 2nd Division – 3rd Round 2007 (Sunday 20 May)
Tokyo Gaijin RFC v NSC Ruggers


    On a fine but windy day at the Kizoochi Rugby Grounds, the Tokyo Gaijin were knocked out of the 2007 Tokyo Cup through a narrow loss to a highly motivated Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) Ruggers.

    The first half started with the NSC Ruggers electing to run towards the river end of the ground. This gave them a slight wind advantage, although the breeze was essentially a cross-field one. The Gaijin got off to their customary slow start, conceding two early tries to the NSC Ruggers – one a pushover from a five-meter scrum, the other a classic winger’s try in the corner.

    The Gaijin did manage to hit back next with a classic winger’s try of their own though when
Andy Ballard came off the blind and stormed through a gap nicely set up for him by the inside backs. Shaunne Hughes converted to cut NSC’s lead to 10 – 7.

Tokyo Cup 2nd Division – 3rd Round 2007 (Sunday 20 May)
Tokyo Gaijin RFC v NSC Ruggers

A close loss to Nippon Steel

Tokyo Gaijin 21        NSC Ruggers 25

    On a fine but windy day at the Kizoochi Rugby Grounds, the Tokyo Gaijin were knocked out of
the 2007 Tokyo Cup through a narrow loss to a highly motivated Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) Ruggers.

    The first half started with the NSC Ruggers electing to run towards the river end of the
ground. This gave them a slight wind advantage, although the breeze was essentially a cross-field one. The Gaijin got off to their customary slow start, conceding two early tries to the NSC Ruggers – one a pushover from a five-meter scrum, the other a classic winger’s try in the corner.

    The Gaijin did manage to hit back next with a classic winger’s try of their own though when
Andy Ballard came off the blind and stormed through a gap nicely set up for him by the inside backs. Shaunne Hughes converted to cut NSC’s lead to 10 – 7.

    The Gaijin quickly got back to NSC territory, but a rush of blood from Paulo de Berriozabal
saw the team temporarily down to 14 men. No doubt the fiery Basque was provoked, but there
are not many ref’s who’ll let a clear punch pass without censure. Luckily, this action proved to unify rather than divide the team and NSC were held scoreless for the entire time the Gaijin had a man off the field. Nick Morgans, Murray Clarke and Dave Kelver in particular stepped up to fill the gaps over this 10 minute period.

    The half ended with two tries to NSC Ruggers and one to the Tokyo Gaijin – the Gaijin’s score
coming from a bullocking run from Apisai ‘The Human Tank’ Bati. In terms of consistently being able to break the first few tackles, there must be few better running around Japanese amateur rugby than the burly Fijian. Hughes again converted meaning that NSC went into half-time with a 20 – 14 lead.

    The second half proved to be a tighter affair with NSC scoring shortly after the break and
then Bati completing a double for the Gaijin with 10 minutes to go. Shaunne Hughes managed to finish off a very good day with the boot by adding his third conversion. The Gaijin hammered away hard for the last 20 minutes with Al Nimmo, Sean O`Donoghue, Niall Conlon, and Hitoshi Chihara all enjoying some good runs. However, despite the team’s best efforts the Gaijin were unable to get the final score necessary for victory.

    When the referee blew his whistle for full-time there was disappointment but not outrage from
the gold and maroon’s. The referee had ran the game well, both teams had given it 100% and on this occasion the Gaijin had come up just a little bit short. Such is rugby.

    The Tokyo Gaijin would like to thank the organizers of the Tokyo Cup for putting on a very
enjoyable tournament. We would also especially like to thank our helpers for their efforts over the course of the tournament. Without you we could not get on the field, so your support is obviously crucial to us. Thank you.

  Tokyo Gaijin 21        NSC Ruggers 25

Man of the Match: Hitoshi Chihara
Goat of the Match: Paulo de Berriozabal

Team:
1. Joe Fisher (New Zealand)
2. Nick Morgans (USA)
3. Takayuki Kitajima (Japan)
4. Murray Clarke (New Zealand)
5. Mauro Sauco (Argentina)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Dave Kelver (USA)
8. Paulo de Berriozabal (Basque)
9. Al Nimmo (England / Japan)
10. Shaunne Hughes (Australia)
11. Andy Ballard (England)
12. Apisai Bati (Fiji)
13. Niall Conlon (England)
14. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
15. Yoichi Ohira (Japan)
16. Dave Huffman (Canada)
17. Sean O`Donoghue (Ireland)
18. Mike Parks (England)
19. So Nagashima (Japan)
20. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan)
21. Lawrence Hii (Singapore)
22. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)