Dateline: 19th September, 2010
The Tatsumi ground is easily one of the better quality grounds, with facilities to match, that TGRFC have an opportunity to play on. On this occassion it was to be a chance for the TGRFC members who dont always get runs during the competition games to strut their stuff out on the lovely green grass. While the game would not go down as a classic, it was eerily similar to any B side you might listen to - some memorable tunes but not one you will replay over and over.
The game ended with the scoreline 22 v 12 in foavour of the Gaijin, and while they where in control of the game for long spells it was only a late try that really put the game out of contention for the No Side club.They played strongly and it was the much needed practice against a Shuto League team that they required, so they could evaluate their decisoion to enter the league next year with a little more clarity.
That late try that sealed the game went to Paulo Berriozabal. It was his first run for the Gaijin in several months, after a lay-off for summer and a busy work schedule. He had a definite impact when he came on the field and was working hard at the back of the pack and in the tight stuff. He was his usual self, scrounging away for the ball and getting pinged for it on a couple of occasions too. But he more than made up for it when late in the game after some prolonged pressure he sneaked over close to the posts from a tap penalty and subsequent ruck.
The converted try pushed the Gaijin out to the 22 points that they would end the game with, after holding on to a narrow lead of 15 - 12 for a long spell in the second half.
Earlier in the second half the Gaijin had regained the lead when Andy Ballard, playing on the flank, had surged over the line with some support to make it 15-10. His energy around the field is abundant and what he lacks in intimate knowledge ofthe game, he makes up for in reliability and quick presence on the ball.
The two tries to the forwards in the second half were valid reward for a pack that though a little under-rated based on time together, performed well in most stages of the contest. The scrum had been dominant, with props Simon Palm being a huge asset and the execution of Erin Hughes and Anga ???? up front keeping the lads on the front foot.
A strong No Side lineout had kept the TGRFC one relatively in check, and even though there were a number of good jumpers available, the inexperience of Captain Blake Walker on the day in throwing lineouts meant that several opportunities were lost, and TGRFC ball was not as tidy as it sould have been.
However the Captain for the day had been the first to get on the scorecard with a try from a ruck that was the culmination of alot of good interplay by the TGRFC side. The Gaijin had been working well on attack with a new centre pairing of Matt Stride and Ikuo Fukuda making gaps and meters up the middle. The dominance early, along with some quick ruck ball was creating pressure on the defence and they gave up a few early penalties. This also meant the Captain was playing a role more akin to a league hooker as he was standing very wide of the ruck and looked more like a second stand-off than a number 2.
After the first try it was a similar stlye of play that was going to produce the second. The big Welsh boys Dave Richards and Richard O'Shea were burrowing away and the ball was flowing back nicely for Wataru Sato who was making some darting runs at 9. It was one of these runs after a strong surge by Palm that would put the gaijin up by 10 early in the second half to re-ignite the concerns of the team with what had happened a few weeks earlier when they had got ahead by 10 - 0 early.
And with the script written the Gaijin did infact lose control of the game midway through the second spell. The early rucking on mauling and playing 2 wide of the ruck wasnt as effective after the 1st drinks break and the No Side Club were on Attack for a long time. The Gaijin were on solid defense in their 22m line for about 5 minutes. Their way some higher tackles starting to creep in as the players looked to hold up the attack close to the line. They fought well, but with penalties compounding the problem the team would soon crack. It did and the No Side team were energised with only being down by 5.
Further pressure was on the line moments later with some easy yards to the side of the ruck and also wider on the wings. A couple of dubious penalties kept the No Side club on the front foot, with the Rugby God(s) favouring the attacking team. A try out wide and solid conversion meant that the No Side team would lead at the break 12 - 10. This was to be their last points of the game though as the TGRFC gathered their heads enough to put in a stronger defensive effort in the second half.
Players that were particularly good on the day were the Charles Joffre who had a positive run-out in the forwards and this could definitely be considered a fruitful change for him. Simon Palm was again very strong with scrummaging and his work around the field, but the Man ofthe Match on this day went to Andy Ballard for the aforementioned energy he bought to the game. Also a special thanks to Anga and Natsu who played their first games for the Gaijin.
A huge thank you to all WAGS who came along and to some new friends who we meet for the first time. Also a big thank you to Vico for making the effort to come out on a short educational trip back from Paraguay. It was a great day out in beautiful surroundings andwe look forward to being back there soon for the game against the All Quiet Typhoon in October.
Score: TGRFC 22 (Blake Walker 1, Wataru Sato 1, Andy Ballard 1, Paulo de Barriozabal 1tries, Toshi Miyano 1/1 conversions, Yamagen 0/3 conversions) No Side 12 (2 tries, 1/2 conversions)
Man of the Match: Andy Ballard
1. Simon Palm (Germany)
2. Blake Walker (New Zealand)
3. Anga (Indonesia)
4. Dave Richards (Wales)
5. Natsu (Japan)
6. Charles Joffre (France)
7. Andy Ballard (England)
8. Richard O'Shea (Wales)
9. Wataru Sato (Japan)
10. Yamagen (Japan)
11.Daisuke Ikegami (Japan)
12. Matt Stride (Australia)
13. Ikuo Fukuda (Japan)
14. Yoshihiro Satou (Japan)
15. Toshihiro Uematsu (Japan)
16. Toru Kanamori (Japan), 17. Erin Hughes (USA), 18. Dave Kelver (USA), 19. Junnosuke Nakamura (Japan), 20. Toshi Miyano (Japan), 21. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan), 22. Tomo Togo (Japan), 23. Paulo Berriozabal (Basque), 24. Jyoh Iwasaki (Japan)