PROMOTION TO FIRST DIVISION: Due to the surprise demotion of Superman Club from the 1st to the 4th Division (for fielding unregistered professional players), the Tokyo Gaijin have been promoted to take their place. As the runner-up finalist in the 2008 Second Division the Gaijin ran Rokko East Club hard in the promotion/relegation match until the final minute where Rokko East put the pressure on and pulled off a deserved try out wide. In 2009 the Gaijin will be looking to improve upon that performance on the backs of their senior players and an increasingly talented bench. And we know we can!

The up-side for the team is that the playing fields will be of top-quality and not the mud bath that Kizoochi is by June. The refereeing standards should also be unrivalled, though the down-side for the overall team will mean less match time for more junior level players as the squad numbers are limited through this competition. This means we will arrange more non-competition games to get everyone playing time through spring and early summer. Importantly though this means fitness for the 1st XV must be top-grade. So put down the smokes boys!

We would like to remind all players that your service through the upcoming campaign will be much required. We need to field medical staff (we will need more people to get certified), touch officials (again, certification is required) and a referee (again, we need someone registered and certified). The team will need all the support we can get to battle some of Tokyo's best clubs - clubs who train through the week and abstain from adult beverages and activities over their weekends. It will be hard work for us all just to keep up!

Note 1: The last time the Gaijin reached the 1st Division was 2001. This was in fact the first time any non-Japanese club had gotten past all the distractions to reach this level of Tokyo's premier club competition - and here we've done it again! Well done to all who toiled so hard through 2008, 'coz we need more of it for 2009!

Note 2: Incidentally for any players who are seeking to win themselves a professional rugby contract, the 1st Division is where people do get noticed (if they stand out for the right reasons). So, for all players wishing to participate through the Tokyo Cup, we need you to send Joffa Harris an email with the following registration information - before March 1!

TOKYO CUP PLAYER REGISTRATION REQUIRES:

1. Full Name: (in Kanji and Romaji if Japanese)

2. Nationality:

3. Position:

4. Age:

5. Employer:

6. School/College/University:

7. Height:

8. Weight:

9. Phone Number: (Mobile preferred)

10. Name and Contact Number of Next of Kin/Close Friend: (in case of horrific injury)

... please send all 10 items to JOFFA as soon as you can.