Tokyo Gaijin RFC vs. Waikiki Banyans RFC
Date: 5th March 2017
Cup Winners’ Cup Round 2
Venue: Hino Motors Ground
Kick off: 10:45
Man of the Match: Natsuhiko Kunitomo (selected internally) / Alex Auld (selected by opposition)
It was a beautiful day for rugby but the Tokyo Gaijin squad was a little thin in reserves, so the boys had to tough it out against a resilient and determined opposition.
The first stanza of the game saw Gaijin absorb early pressure before earning a penalty and driving towards the Banyan’s 22m. The move off the top was good and the ball was spun wide quickly only to fall short from poor handling errors from the Gaijn. It was likely a try if the passes stuck and runners were on the inside.
Yet again the Gaijin worked themselves well to the opposition’s line for them to strip the ball from the winger with the line begging.
It was turning out to be the Gaijin defeating themselves through poor errors and unforced dropped balls. The Gaijin continued to apply the pressure though with a line out drive set up and the ball worked through tight phases for the first try to be scored by Nik who crashed over the line, in close to one of the rucks. Paddy was able to successfully convert the try to give the Gaijin the early lead. With this buffer in hand, Waikiki worked resiliently to keep the Gaijin back, out of their territory and ran a few good lines, and being patient building on phases. The pressure lead to Waikiki earning a penalty and for them to slot for their first points of the game.
A simialr pattern happened again for Waikiki to make it a 1-point game through a successful penalty. Even though the Gaijin seemed to have the mental edge and the lead by one point, they still couldn’t finish off basic moves and ran a lot of isolated players, making it easier for the opposition to create pressure and steal ball. The Gaijin continued to scramble though and tough it out to work themselves to Waikiki line. Waikiki managed to earn a maul scrum but were tackled over their line for the Gaijin to be given the scrum 5-metres out. The try that followed was a push over scrum with Paul falling on the ball to give the Gaijin their second try of the game. With the first half winding down, Gaijin were happy to keep the ball out their half until the ref blew for the first 40-minutes.
After a quick talk at half time to tighten up a few calls and get communication right, the Gaijin were back out looking at another tough half of rugby. The first few minutes didn’t show much improvement with the kick off not going 10 metres. This created another armwrestle in the game as Gaijin tried to run and rumble the ball up field. Waikiki were caught out a few times with Gaijin players wrapping and looping in the back line, but they failed to continue this, only creating pressure for themselves. In the midst of the big hits, Waikiki went high in a tackle after continual warnings and was given a yellow card. The Gaijin worked their advantage to get close to Waikiki’s line and earned a penalty which was quickly taken by Paddy and crashing over giving Gaijin a 19-6 lead with the successful conversion. The Gaijin didn’t rest though and kept pushing their man advantage and created a maul penalty in the Waikiki 22 metre. Gaijin decided on a scrum and the ball was tossed around only for Paddy to grab his second of the game in the corner and converting to take the score to 26-6.
This is when it seemed that Gaijin took their foot off the gas. The players were tired with some walking wounded after a brutal Bangkok tour and it began to show in the last 15 minutes. The limited subs had been made with Tommy subbing Yamagen on the wing for the last 10 minutes. Waikiki sensed their chances and created pressure for the spread the ball wide and slide into the corner. The try literally was touch and go, but the side line official determined it to be a try giving Waikiki their first try of the game taking the score to 26-11. This wasn’t the end as they managed to slip through the shallow defensive line to dot under the posts to bring the score to 26-18 in the last 5 minutes. Gaijin struggled to exit effectively from their 22 metre but after a brutal game of armwrestling and will power, they were victorious.
1- Gorka Gerediaga (vc)
2 – Tomo Setoguchi (c)
3 – “Donny” Tanaka
4 – Natsuhiko Kunitomo (sub: Kosuke Yamamoto)
5 – John Simpson
6 – Paul Bertier
7 – Nikola Pavesic
8 – Takashi Tanikawa
9 – Sota Kaneko
10 – Paddy Watson
11 – Yoshihiro Sato
12 – Alex Auld (vc) (sub: Joe. K)
13 – Hitoshi Chihara
14 – Akira “Yamagen” Yamamoto (sub: Tommy Nasuno)
15 – Hideki Man
16 – Tommy Nasuno
17 – Kosuke Yamamoto
18 – Joe. K
Coach: Warren Adamson
Tries: Nikola Pasevic (1); Paul Bertier (1); Paddy Watson (2)
Conversion: Paddy Watson (3/4)