Timeline: March 17 - March 22

After 6 years of trying, the Tokyo Gaijin finally won some silverware at the Manila 10`s.  The team won the finals of the Bowl Division 19 v 5 after winning all the 5 lead-up matches. The Tokyo Gaijin RFC's name now goes on a big perpetual Cup and the team received a trophy - a running Carabao (Water buffalo) with a rugby ball under his arm - as well as medals for each player. They also won bragging rights and before leaving Manila the next day the legend had already grown and players were boasting of their heroics and had a little extra swagger to their step. Free drinks were even provided at a few bars in town as the news filtered back before our arrival.

Below is an account of the 5 days in Manila:

DAY 1 : Wednesday 17th March

The majority of  The Tokyo Gaijin RFC tourists met at Narita Airport at 7:30am in Tour clobber - Yukata, hachimaki, chonmage & geta. Joffa Harris was turned away with an invalid passport - it had expired the month before. He did have a valid re-entry visa though! The rest of the guys got the plane, transferred in Taiwan, took a few pictures, experienced electrical problems with said plane, got back off, got on another plane, and landed in Manila an hour and a half late.  Checked into hotel, had a few beers, and went to bed at a reasonable hour (Ed: Sometime before sunrise?). All the while Joffa was having a morning from hell. He raced back to the Aussie Embassy in Azubu Juban, got there just before 11am, told his sorry tale, and amazingly was promised an emergency passport in a few hours. He managed to get a flight for 6:30pm on the same evening. By 1pm, with new emergency passport in hand, he was on his way back to Narita Airport, and arrived in Manila around 10:30pm, 9 hours later than was originally slated. Better late than never! He would pay for teh crime at the Kangaroo Court on the Sunday evening!

Personal highlight of the night:
(As we're walking into a bar with full tour kit on, I overhear a conversation)
Guy #1: Who are they?
Guy #2: The Tokyo Gaijin.

Final Day 1 Report: Working on an Impression           

DAY 2: Thursday 18th March

Woke up early (because we all went to bed so early!), went on a tour of Corregidor  Island ((en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Corregidor ), the scene of a few major battles between U.S/Filipino troops and those from the 'homeland', did the tourist thing and toured the big guns, tunnels and war cemetries on the island, ate food, saw monkeys, saw evil goat, then left the island in the afternoon.  Played 12 holes of night golf inside the old Spanish Quarter of the city. Oakwood had provided a gopher to cart a large esky full of beer behind us and by Hole 3, with the Clubhouse out of site, the boys were into the Brewskis. All our personal caddies didn' seem to mind....maybe they were too busy filling divets.Luckily we all play rugby as evryone was quite bad at golf.   Some lost, late souls joined us (Paulo, Toru & Kevin), drank some beer, everyone to bed by 7pm (Ed: Yeah, if you believe that!). 
Final Day 2 Report: Making an Impression

DAY 3: Friday 19th March

Team went to Shangri La pool for a recovery session. Water Rugby was played. Others tried to buy a folex, one skint guy watched Thundercats in his hotel room.  The last member (Ian Roy) joined the fellowship, circle complete!  Team dinner, beer was consumed, team went to bed earlier than previous days. Sometime around midnight for most (tournament started the following day). 
Final Day 3 Report: Refining our Impression

DAY 4: Saturday 20th March

Played our first match at 8:36am: dominated;  played next match at 10-something: dominated, but heavily penalized (a sign of things to come); played our final match of the day at 11-something: dominated one of the favorites in our pool...with no Vaseline!  Finished playing rugby by noon!  F**king awesome!  Went over to the Oakwood tent (our team sponsor for some of you newer guys), dined on all the free---as in no cost to us--- links, various cuts of pork, and all the beer we could consume!  We were even called "Sir". Decided to pull the plug around 6pm as we had to play rugby the next day and the beers were flowing too freely. Went back to the hotel, team dinner, back to the hotel, bars, beer was consumed.  Everyone to bed by midnight (We had a big day coming up). 

Scores for Day 1 of the tourney:
33-0 (Victim: Pot Bellied Pigs from Hong Kong)
22-5 (Victim: Manila Hapons)
38-0 (Victim: Alabang Ibons from Philippines)

Try scorers of the day: Ian Roy (4), Riki Pitter (3), Lonnie Childress (2), Hitoshi Chihara, Rich O'Shea, Mauro Sauco, Kevin Rebay...viewer beware, numbers and names might not be completely accurate.  If I've forgotten your name I apologize.

We also had the 2nd highest score of the tournament (I believe Black Watch beat a team 45-0).  We had the highest point differential of the first day (+88).  Our dominance of the first day put us on top of Division 2 and relegated the second place team in our pool to the 4th seed!

Final Day 4 Report: Establishing our Impression!

DAY 5: Sunday 21st March

Due to the seeding our first match was against the Manila Hapons.  When we played them the day before they gave us our toughest match.  They constantly beat us to breakdown and once we got there we were usually penalized for something.  Go figure, even when we leave Japan we still get dicked by penalties in the ruck when we play against Japanese teams.   I will spare you the particulars but we were behind early and went to the half down 0-10.  They were more fired up this time around, and as the first day, breakdown penalties gave them the meters they needed to score. Bullets were sweated.  The only that thing that kept us alive in the first half was the resiliency of Kevin Rebay (on one bloody leg!!!) We fought back and came within a try with a minute left to the bell.  We got the ball back, the hooter went but it was still our possession.   A penalty on the Hapons gave us some much needed territory and from the quick tap restart I believe it was Hitoshi Chihara to Ian Roy out-wide, who outmanuvered his opposite man, broke to the outside and touched down the ball 15 metres to the  left-side of the posts with time expired.  At this point the score was 10-all.  Before the conversion the referee said to Ian, " You realise if you get this you've won the game". Thanks ref! No pressure there! Ian made the not so-easy conversion to the left-side of the post (in mud) and gave the Gaijin the biggest comeback win of the tourney....hands down!  Overall everyone played like rubish, for the exception of Kevin Rebay and Ian.  Final score was 12-10.

The second match was against the Arabian Pot Bellies (an affiliated side of the Hong Kong Pot Bellied Pigs), and was a defensive match fraught with poor handling by both sides.  A loose ball squeaked out and Riki Pitter ran it down to score to put us up 5-0 before half.  Fortunately that was all we needed as the 2nd half was more of the same and we held on to win 5-nil.  I think at this point the heat wore both sides down and could explain the lackluster play by both squads.  Regardless, a win is a win.

We had a few hours to kill before our final, so we went to the pool to cool off.  I mention this because this apparently played a pivotal role to our standard of play.

The Gaijin, now refreshed and determined not to go home with anything less than herpes...err, I mean a trophy, came out the gate fired up against the host side, Nomads Carabaos.  After a day under the unrelenting sun, fate was obviously on our side as just as the match started to inexplicably rain...Gaijin Weather!  Refreshed and focused the Gaijin drew first blood when, after methodical phase play which saw bruising runs by Paulo de Berriozabal and Chris Lucas, culminated in a five-meter bulldozing effort by Mauro Sauco to put us up 5-0.  Right before half time though the home side scored from 20 meters out off of a scrum when Ian Roy lost his footing in the mud to draw even at 5-all.

Undeterred, the Gaijin came out in the 2nd half with even more ferocity. From an early tap and go Ian Roy threw the ball out wide to Riki Pitter, who passed to Lonnie who, with his opposite number just to his inside, outpaced him a la Ngwenya 50 meters out to touch down under the post to put the Gaijin in a strong position. With the try converted by Ian Roy, the Gaijin were up 12-0 and never looked back.  Joffa harris was to score the other try after a bustling run from inside centre, taking two tacklers over with him, to score under the posts. Ian Roy converted again and the gaijin were up 19-5. This was to be the final score. The heavens soon eased up and by trophy time there was no hint of rain. By then the Gaijin had sunk quite a few beers in celebration.

TRYSCORERS: Ian Roy (7), Paulo de Berriozabal (3), Riki Pitter (3), Mauro Sauco (2), Joffa Harris (2), Hitoshi Chihara (2), Lonnie Childress (2), Richard O'shea (1)

TEAM:

1. Chris Lucas

2. Toru Kanamori

3. mauro Sauco

4. Richard O'Shea

5. Paulo de Berriozabal

6. Hitoshi Chihara

7. Ian Roy

8. Kevin Rebay

9. Riki Pitter

10. Lonnie Childress

11. Joffa Harris

12. Peter Harris

13. Charles Joffre

14. Yoshihiro Sato

The team would like to thank Oakwood for their generous sponsorship of Tour Jerseys and T-shirts, and the good tucker and beer they put on in the Sponsor's tent. First class!

We would also like to thank Aussie Peter Harris for coming from England via Australia and Hong Kong; Englishman Ian Roy (who left Tokyo about 4 years ago) for making the trip from Sydney, Australia; and Frenchman Kevin Rebay (who left Tokyo after the Manila 10's last year) who made the trip from Hong Kong. Your efforts to make the squad stronger are much appreciated fellas. We hope to see you in the Gaijin Jersey at Manila 2011.

Our success for me this year is even more satisfying considering that we were not really a 10's-side, yet had success adapting to the game and beating predominately 10's playing teams.

Bowl Winners baby!!!!!!!!

The remainder of the tour is a blur honestly because we were drunk off our success and new found fame.  Hell, a player from the Philippines Development Team even asked me to autograph his ball!  Honestly, no shit!  All this being said I'm sure everyone was responsible and went to bed by 9:30pm (we could stay up late this night...we earned it!).(Ed: I heard some didn't even see abed that night!))

The following day saw us, bleary-eyed and head-sore, catch our respective flights to various destinations (Japan, Bohol for scuba diving, etc).

Final Report for the 2010 Manila Tour:  Impression made, Legend Born!!!!

If you want more info just ask the guys who went on tour. I am sure they'll be more than happy to regale you with their feats of superhuman strength and prowess (on the field of course!).

Sincerely (as my eyes are watering up as I write this), I am so proud to be a Tokyo Gaijin.  On behalf of Chris Lucas and myself, I'd like to extend our appreciation for everyone's support, and genuine thanks for those who had faith in us and followed us along on this memorable trip.

Go You Good Thing!

Lonnie