Dateline: Sunday 6th November - 'Friendly' against 2nd Division club Moccos
Firstly, for a change, thanks to all the helpers and support that got out to the game against Moccos on Sunday the 6th of November . We always appreciate your support and help and it was great to see your faces at the game. Thanks and please keep coming. Special mention goes to Mr Stride all the way from sunny Australia who was enjoying his first TGRFC rugby game.
It was a late morning start, which suited a number of guys in the team who had stayed up late watching the first of the Autumn 2009 tests the night before. With the usual banter about who had beaten who on the previous night, and a few welcomes for new players, we all began to pile into the taxis for the short trip to the Akigase Rugby ground.It was uncommon for proceedings to be flowing so smoothly so the team settled into a good warm-up session which meant that they would be rearing to go when of the gameplay started. With a good squad being assembled it also meant that the friendly game against the Mokkos would be a good opportunity for some of our less experienced team-mates to get a run alongside some more seasoned players in both halves of the game.
With some new combinations being tried in the midfield and relatively inexperienced wingers it would surely be a baptism of fire. The game got off to a great staff with the kickoff being spilled by the opposition at the 40m line, putting the Gaijin on the front foot from the get go. New boy Wataru Satou was able to jink his way through some weak defence on the flanks to put the Gaijin 5 points up early in the game. This opening proved to be a little too easy as soon after the Moccos Club were able to sneak the ball over the line to be even on points with a kick to come. The start had proven to be a little disconcerting and the Gaijin relaxed and became sloppy with a string of penalties letting the Moccos get hard on attack.
With the cry of "don't panic" echoing through the skies, TGRFC got their organisation back under control and managed to control the ball up the field with some devastating momentum at ruck and maul time. New member Mark Scott at prop, who couldn't be easily identified because of his lack of size and unassuming headgear (Editor's note: he`s tall, bald, about 140kgs & wears a stars & stripes headcap)was adding impetus in the scrum, with the hard working Welsh lock pairing of Dave Richards and Rich O'Shea winning good line-out ball and providing some momentum around the field. After some sustained pressure in the Moccos 22, the TGRFC received a penalty about 5 m out from the Moccos tryline after some busting runs. With the Moccos defence forward focused and numbers on both sides of the flanks for the Gaijin the ball was spread quickly to the right after a quick tap by Rory Brown, who stamped his mark on the game at every instance, to Blake Walker who dummied the first defender and crashed over the line to put the team up by 12. Matt Stride converted to put the TGRFC up by 7, at 12 - 5.
The game began to open up a little in the second part of the first half. The big loose forward combination of Joffa Harris and Toby Gallagher were running freely and making some big yards. Also the ever feisty Rory Brown was carving off some big metres, when only being given inches to operate.
It was a big run that gifted the Gaijin the 3rd try. From the back of a scrum Joffa Harris picked up the ball, drifted one wide of the ruck, and with numbers pulling defenders wider drifted through the line with the help of a good dummy and with legs pumping surged downfield about 40 m, dummied to his winger to beat a defender, and crashed through the fullback with momentum getting him the try. It was a beautiful run and with the try converted the team was a little more comfortable with the score at 19 - 5
The final score of the last half would be courtesy of some great interplay of forwards and backs. The benefactor would again be Walker getting his second try of the half a string of plays that started from another good halfback surge from Rory Brown. He would drift wide off the ruck and beat several players before popping up to the fullback Walker. After getting finally dragged down on about the 22 m line the ball was popped up to a supporting player in Dave Richards. Whilst this move didn't cement the try, the sustained period of pressure would see Walker claiming another try by crashing through a player to touch down after some clean ruck ball and a crisp pass from Stride.
24 - 5 up at halftime with some changes to be rung would mean the Moccos were in for a torrid second half. The Gaijin would be looking to minimise penalties in the second half after giving away too many yards to the whistle in the first half. Changes in the front row were Gaz Dalrymple at Prop, Tomo Togo at Hooker, the loose forward trio changed to include Apisai Bati, Paulo Berriozabal, and Josh O'Brien, the new recruit. Dave Kelver moved into Lock. Captain Matt Downer came into stand-off, Andy Ballard to centre, Toshihiro Uematsu and Brian O'Brien to the wings and Jo Iwasaki to Fullback.
From the kickoff the Gaijin started with a sense of authority with early ball being won and the forwards successfully rumbling up-field. Kelver burst from the ruck, ball in hand and made big yards before setting up another ruck about 20 meters out. After successive phases the ball was moved out left and with two on two, Rory Brown lofted a deft pass into the waiting hands of Togo waiting on the wing, doing his best impression of Sean Fitzpatrick, to dot down for a converted try. 31 - 5.
Again clean ball was won at the re-start and slung out the backs. Ballard had a scything 50m run and beat several defenders and was unlucky to be cut down just short of the line. With the defense reforming to try and slow down the play of ball, gaps were aplenty for Brown to pick up from the back of the ruck and stroll over for a deserved try. 38 - 5 with Matt Downer again converting. This was to be his only try of the game to cap off a superb performance of attacking scrum-half rugby which would get him Man of the Match on the day.
With the forwards securing good go-forward ball all day, it was freeing up room for the backs to make the most of some great weather conditions and to gain some much needed time for on-field combinations to develop.
The next try was to be characteristic of the effort throughout the whole day with the grunt up front again putting the ball on a silver platter for the backs. With a skip pass to Andy at centre and back in to the hard running Downer to make yards. Then back outside to Wataru Satou to make more ground before offloading to Toshihiro Uematsu out on the wing, who continues to improve, and with him putting in a couple of big sidesteps, he left the defense clasping at air to get another try and prove he is someone to watch for the future. 43 - 5.
Apisai Bati was making his presence felt in open field play and after going right off a maul and then cutting back left he was beating the covering defence at will. With tacklers converging on him he fed the ball off to the new winger Brian O'Brien who cleanly stepped the last defender and went around under the posts to dot down for a try that was to be converted and brought up the 50 points for the team. 50 - 5.
The hard runners were breaking tackles easily in this stanza with the hardworking Moccos boys tiring after being on defense for long periods. They were playing admirably, but with the TGRFC controlling the ball for long periods, the referee was taken out of the game because the team was not giving away easy penalties and yards for the Moccos offense to capitalise on.
Downer went right from a scrum on the middle off half way after a failed kickoff, and sped to the Moccos 22 before feeding inside to the ever present Bati. He finished off cleanly and the score was now looking to blowout at 57 - 5.
The previous combination was again looking to create something with Downer chipping the ball over the line in an attempt to display every skill in his arsenal. Players converged on the ball, but it was Bati that got his slipper on the ball and he regathered it near the posts to put another seven on the scoreboard for the Gaijin. 64 - 5.
Again courtesy of the boot of Downer was the last try for the Gaijin. Downer was running freely and after a good chip and regather he passed off to Toshihiro who would get another one to cap off a good day. With Downer converting to also cap off a good day with the boot the score was 71 - 5.
The last laugh was to go to Moccos however making the most of a weight of possession in the dying minutes to get some consolation points. Their loose forwards had worked hard all day and it was the No. 8 who would break through a couple of weak tackles and get a hard earned try for the team. 71 - 10.
Overall it was a pleasing effort in attack but the team let down on defence as they were looking to keep the other team tryless in preparation for a difficult task against the Gentle Giants the next week in order to maintain their chances of finishing the Shuto League at the top of the table.
Final Score: TGRFC 71 (Blake Walker 2, Toshihiso Uematsu 2, Apisai Bati 2, Wataru Satou 1, Joffa Harris 1, Tomo Togo 1, Brian O'Brien 1, Rory Brown 1 tries; Matt Stride 2/4 conversions, Matt Downer 6/7 conversions) MOCCOS 10 (2 tries)
Man Of The Match: Rory Brown
1. Warren Adamson (SA)
2. Toru Kanamori (JPN)
3. Mark Scott (USA)
4. Richard O'Shea (WAL)
5. Dave Richards (WAL)
6. Dave Kelver (USA)
7. Toby Gallagher (IRE)
8. Joffa Harris (AUS)
9. Rory Brown (SA)
10. Matt Stride (AUS)
11. Charles Joffre (FRA)
12. Wataru Satou (JPN)
13. Ikuo Fukuda(JPN)
14. Yoshihiro Satou (JPN)
15. Blake Walker (vc) (NZ)
Reserves: 16. Gaz Dalrymple (SCO) 17. Tomo Togo (JPN) 18. Apisai Bati (FIJ) 19. Paulo Berriozabal (BSQ) 20. Josh O'Brien (USA) 21. Matt Downer (c) (NZ) 22. Joe Nawaqavanua (FIJ) 23. Toshihiro Uematsu (JPN) 24. Brian O'Brien (USA) 25. Andy Ballard (ENG) 26. Jo Iwasaki (JPN)