Fuji Club (with their friends and family), obviously not ready for the awe-inspiring whipping they were about to receive at the hands of the Gaijin, came prepared to give their best effort; unfortunately for them their best effort wasn't good enough, as the Tokyo Gaijin rolled for a 54-5 annihilation of yet another Shuto League opponent.
First blood was drawn by the Gaijin when, from a line-out, mauled five-meters with Chris Fearon going over for the try. Matt Downer, proving the notion that it helps to have someone on the pitch that can actually kick, converted the try: score 7-0 to the Gaijin.
Though organized and quick, the Fuji back line started to buckle under the intense, swarming pressure of the Gaijin defense. An errant Fuji pass resulted in Paulo de Berriozabal racing down the field but unlucky on the pass to the wing.
The Fuji attacked continued in the Gaijin-half of the field but the Gaijin defense held firm, culminating in a try-line stance with Murray's 'lucky boot' holding the ball up from being placed down for the try.
Fighting from their own try-line the Gaijin methodically forced Fuji further and further back until the unrelenting pressure finally resulted into a turnover for the Gaijin. The boot of newcomer Matt Downer, pinned Fuji deep in their own territory. Fuji was making good progress fighting out of their own half until sloppy play resulted in the ball going out on the full for the Gaijin. Off the resulting line-out the ball went quick off the top to Al Nimmo, to Paulo with a quick unload to fat-ass Chris Fearon at pace, breaking the line and charging his heaving mass 40 meters down the field towards the try zone with two men to beat. Demonstrating skill unusual for a planet, he chipped the ball towards the try zone, forcing the smaller Fuji players to kick the ball through their own end lest they be laid to waste by the gravitational force of Chris smashing into them. Slander aside, Fearon's great effort resulted in a five meter scrum to the Gaijin. As has been usual this year, the Gaijin forward pack imposed their will from the scrum, into a maul, which led to Apisai Bati (stealing the ball from So Nagashima) to go over for his first try of the day. Unlucky on the conversion, the score: 12-0 to the Gaijin.
A few minutes later, Sean O`Donoghue barreled down the field for 30 meters, fending off three players until he eventually was brought down. Sean's effort led to Al Nimmo taking the ball down the wing, resulting in a pass to Jo Iwasaki to go over for the try. Matt on target with the conversion, score: 19-0.
Before the end of the half Matt extended the lead by three with a penalty goal, score: 22-0.
At half-time Substitutions were forced on the front row with new man Garrett Washington coming on for Chris Fearon at prop and Gaz Dalrymple coming on for Takayuki Kitajima at tight-head prop.
The Gaijin opened the 2nd-half how they ended the first, by mounting Fuji with no Vaseline. From a line-out the ball went quick off the top to Al, through the hands of the backs, resulting in a 20 meter maul back to Al, with a quick pass out wide to Sean to put him away for the try. Unlucky on the conversion, score: 27-0.
More substitutions were made to bring on the eager reserves with Hitoshi Chihara replacing Jo Iwasaki on the wing and Tyler Rumsey replacing Murray Clarke at lock.
From a scrum Paulo took the pick from No8, passed out through a few hands to Rumsey five meters out, who then dragged two Fuji players with him, as he barged over the try line for the score. Bati on target with the conversion (with no tee), score: 34-0.
The slow blood-letting of Fuji Club continued when Paulo, crashing onto a pass from Matt, beat his man and committed the other, to put Ken Kondo away for a try in the corner. Try not converted, score: 39-0.
Yet more substitutions were made at this stage to give the weary a rets with Erin Hughes replacing Sean O`Donoghue at lock, Hiroyuki Sato replacing Alaister Nimmo with Hitoshi Chihara going to halfback and Hiroyuki filling in at wing. Another new boy, Will Thompson replaced So Nagashima at flank.
Inspired by tasting first-blood on a earlier try, Ken---with quick feet, darted and sliced through the defense, unloaded to Hitoshi who passed to the "Flying Fijian Grenade" Bati to race 40 meters down the wing to put the ball under the post for a try. Try converted by Matt. Score : 46v0.
Lack of concentration by the Gaijin (or maybe unconscious mercy) led to an inconsequential try to Fuji Club late in the match.
The circle of Hell for Fuji finally ended when Matt--with the slightest touch of hesitation--had a beautifully timed 30 meter run between #10 and #12...TRY!!! under the post. Try converted, score: 53-5.
Overall, great match to watch (if you were for the Gaijin that is). Per the usual stuff, witnessed plenty of opposing players strewn across the field, agonizing in pain with a Gaijin standing over them! Intensity picked up 10-fold in the 2nd-half, allowing everyone to join in on the battle against Fuji.
SCORE: TGRFC 53 (A.Bati 2, C. Fearon 1, J.Iwasaki 1, S.O`Donoghue 1, T.Rumsey 1,
K.Kondo 1, M.Downer 1 tries, M.Downer 4 goals, 1 Pen. Goal, A.Bati 1 goal)
Fuji Club 5.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Forwards: Paulo de Berriozabal
Backs: Matt Downer
Goat: Erin Hughes, not for anything he did during this match, but for a past transgression of getting yellow-carded from the previous match where he filled in for another team.
1. Chris Fearon (NZ)
2. Toru Kanamori (Japan)
3. Takayuki Kitajima (Japan)
4. Murray Clarke (NZ)
5. Sean O`Donoghue (Ireland)
6. So Nagashima (Japan)
7. Dave Kelver (USA)
8. Paulo de Berriozabal (Basque)
9. Al Nimmo (England)
10. Matt Downer (NZ)
11. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
12. Apisai Bati (Fiji)
13. Niall Conlon (Britain)
14. Tucker McEwen (USA)
15. Ken Kondo (Japan)
16. Garrett Washington (USA)
17. Erin Hughes (USA)
18. Tyler Rumsey (USA)
19. Will Thompson (Australia)
20. Gaz Dalyrmple (Scotland)
21. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan)
22. Hiroyuki Sato (Japan)