Saturday March 8th, 2008, saw a small band of Gaijin head to Shibuya for the Shuto League closing ceremonies for the
Close 2007 season (prolonged because of rained out games). There they were awarded the Shuto League Champions Cup and were privileged to have one their own named as Tournament MVP for 2007: APISAI BATI.. This comes on top of winning the Tokyo Gaijin`s MVP award for the 2007 season.
Apisai Bati, a Rishkul College product from Suva, Fiji, joined the Tokyo Gaijin club back in
After a few years away from the Gaijin, Bati returned to the Club in late 2006 after a stint as a player-coach for Saitama Cup league team ‘Blue Socks’ where he was 2005 MVP. He has played a lot of games at many levels at flanker but is even more effective at center where he is currently a key man in igniting our back line.
Always cheerful, positive and focused on winning, Bati's most memorable moments off the pitch include his not so eloquent speech making over beers at barbeques (“No sex and no drinking the night before a game!”) and his keenness to lead the Gaijin Shuffle (a Haka of sorts) or to get the Kava out when ever ceremony allows. Like father, like son (and daughter in his case), Bati's kids (Apisai Junior, Rachel & Atela) are already making names for themselves in kids’ rugby circles in Japan, while Bati himself spends a lot of time outside the club coaching at junior levels.
Being MVP for the Tokyo Gaijin in 2007 (his first full season back) and now the Shuto League MVP for the 2007/08 Shuto League is a just reward for Bati for his whole-hearted rugby over the past year. He is like a fine wine and just seems to get better with age. He is definitely in his finest form. He has continued in that vein in 2008 as just last weekend he scored another hat trick against the Japanese National Deaf Team, the ‘All Quiet Typhoon’. Hungry for the ball and always looking for the try line, he lays so many defenders to waste that his teammates are forced to jump over and around bodies when trying to keep up.
The entire team enjoys playing rugby alongside (and behind) this playmaker. Congratulations mate!