Last weekend the Tokyo Gaijin played in a friendly (exhibition style) invitational game against the All Japan Deaf Rugby team at the national team training facility in Tatsumi, Tokyo. The weather was fine and pitch conditions perfect for a game of fast running rugby. The day also included some activities for the kids and an after-match function in the club rooms.
The match itself was a fast and free flowing game that was precded by the All Quiet Typhoon's rendition of a pre-match war cry, similar to the Haka. The Gaijin dominated in most aspects other than their appalling lack of ability to secure restarts, putting them under pressure right from the start. The All Quiet Typhoon opened the scoring with a well worked try out wide but from that point on it was the Gaijin all the way. The final score was not tallied but it was big. And fun.
Some note-worthy points of the day:
1. Captain Murray Clarke lasted all of 3 minutes and retired early with a nasty knee injury (turns out later that it is both cartilege and tendon damage, but was described at the time as the effects of "old age").
2. Matthew Downer helped create Charles Joffre's first try for the Tokyo Gaijin by flicking the ball overhead while under extreme pressure for the French winger to catch and accelerate to the corner. A fine piece of work by both.
3. Paulo Berriozabal ran further than anyone has ever seen him with the ball in hand. From inside his own half he broke the line and then smashed his way through two would-be covering tackles to collapse with the ball in the corner. The downward pressure was enough to warrant the try as calls of "more cigarettes" were made from the side line.
4. At various stages of the game the All Japanese "Gaijin" backline (if we omit Matthew-suke) featured Junno-suke, Dai-suke, Yu-suke, Hitoshi, Toshi, Wataru, Fukuda-san, Sato-san and Jo-san. They performed very well indeed and were the scorers of a half dozen tries.
5. A fine play by Mr. Charles Joffre in the second half saw him gather a grubber from Mr. Downer and hare up the touch line, offloading to Hitoshi Chihara for a great try. Mr. Joffre's confidence is soaring and his game has improved a great deal from those dodgy early days of dropped balls.
6. Yoz Togo helped create a nice try by streaking up the touch line, drawing the last two defenders and offloading in the tackle to the inside man. Another in the quickly improving ranks.
7. Bati Apisai showed a rare ability to pass the ball - but only after he had broken several tackles and drawn additional defenders to him. He had a great day and is not letting age get the better of him.
8. Rob Poulton also had some huge runs and was the pick of the front rowers in what was a very loose game. He even had a stint at open side flank.
9. Another big fella worthy of comment was Mauro Sauco who made some bullocking runs early on and showed surprising fitness (for short spells).
10. Toby Gallagher played an outstanding game all day long. A fine act and was very likely the Man of the Match, if we had one.
11. The post-match function was a lovely affair with some good speeches and happy cheers all round. The Gaijin front row hoovered up all but the crumbs and retired to a nearby park to sup beverages of the canned variety. We trust everyone got home safe and sound though it has been rumored that Lonnie and Gazza have not been seen nor heard from since. Likely Roppongi was involved somehow.
12. Lot's of nice pictures to upload but trying to work out how to do that...