Dateline: 31st October, 2010
The day after a typhoon blew through Tokyo ending a few days of rain the Gaijin played the Japanese National Deaf Team, aptly named the All Quiet Typhoon. Coached by Fijian Paulo Nualu, the ex-Japanese 7's coach, the team had had a few recent additions and were keen to measure themselves against strong competition as they ready for a trip to Fiji for a Deaf Rugby Tournament next year.
The field at Tatsumi no Mori was in quite good condition considering the heavy rain that had fallen in the previous few days. The referee was an 'A' class referee which was a nice change to some of the 'very average' referees that control the games in other amateur leagues. The Tokyo Gaijin RFC were keen to use this game to blood a few newcomers and some of the less experienced players.
The Deaf team came out with all guns blazing in the early parts of the game and stunned a few of the Gaijin new boys with their ferocity and keeness. The Gaijin defense held equal to the task as they pulled off three try saving tackles in the first ten minutes. There was a great cover tackle by Alaister Nimmo at the 5 minute mark. Then Simon Palm desperately pulled down an attacker as he headed for the line. From the ensuing scrum new boy Guiseppe Ingiglli made a fantastic textbook cover tackle as he pushed the winger in touch centimetres before the corner flag.
After weathering the early storm (or should that be typhoon?) the Gaijin edged their way upfield. From a penalty the Gaijin set up a rolling maul from a lineout which went 20 metres before Dave Kelver emerged from the pile of people looking very happy with himself. Yes, he had scored the first try of the match. Toshi Miyano converted and the score was 7 v 0 to the Gaijin despite the All Quiet Typhoon having had the early run of play.
Blake Walker was the next to come up with a try-saving tackle in the right corner in almost the exact same position that Guiseppe had saved a certain try earlier. The Gaijin got out of jail this time with an intercept by Jo iwasaki not long after and he showed surprising pace to race away 60 metres upfield to score. Once again Miyano converted to put the Gaijin out 14 v 0 in front.
The score stayed like this 'til halftime. The All Quiet Typhoon boys had come out fired up but it was only some excellent try-saving tackles that kept them scoreless at halftime, and perhaps some good fortune for the Gaijin.
The second half started with a lot of to'ing and fro'ing as both sides made lots of mistakes. Dave Kelver was the first to stretch the Typhoon's line when he made a 30 metre break upfield but unfortunately his pass to Yoshihiro Sato was dropped.
The Gaijin were next to score when Ricahard O'Shea picked up from the back of a ruck and popped the ball to Hitoshi Chihara who ran under the posts to score. Miyano again converted to make the score 21 v 0.
From a ruck inside the Gaijin half Yamagen popped the ball to Joffa Harris, who laid the ball off to Ikuo Fukuda who cut through the AQT backline. A blind pass bounced but fortunately Yoshihiro Sato was on hand to pick up the loose ball to run in under the posts for his 1st try for the Gaijin. He had had a rough game up until then, getting hammered in a few tackles and being guilty of a few dropped balls, but he has laboured hard over the past few years to improve his game so everyone was very happy for him. Miyano converted making the score 28 v 0.
The All Quiet Typhoon finally got on the board after some solid forward work when one of their props crashed through the Gaijin defense. They were unable to convert the try leaving the score 28 v 5.
The final try was to go to senior Gaijin player Toru Kanamori. After a break by Joffa Harris and an offload to the supporting Hitoshi Chihara, an inside pass found Kanamori and he was able to run in around the posts untouched to score under the black dot. The try was converted to make the final score 35 v 5.
For the Gaijin, the performance looked a bit rusty but they were able to give valuable game time to some of their newer members and to some of their less experienced members. For the All Quiet Typhoon, they never stopped trying and showed that deafness is no barrier to playing good rugby. They were also able to get some newer and less experienced guys on the park.
The Deaf team never fail to put on a good show after the game and provided us with beers and chow. Communication was obviously tough but we all know now how to say Tokyo Gaijin in sign language.
We wish them luck in future games and every success in Fiji next year.SCORE: TGRFC 35 (D. Kelver 1, J.Iwasaki 1, H. Chihara 1, Y.Sato 1, T. Kanamori 1 tries, v All Quiet Typhoon 5 (1 try)
1. Angga Wirastomo (Indonesia)
2. Liam Ramshaw (England)
3. Simon Palm (Germany)
4. Dave Richards (Wales)
5. Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan)
6. Charles Joffre (France)
7. Dave Kelver (USA)
8. Alex Glover (England)
9. Alaister Nimmo (vc) (England)
10. Toshi Miyano (Japan)
11. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
12. Hitoshi Chihara (c) (Japan)
13. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
14. Guiseppe Ingiglli (Italy)
15. Blake Walker (NZ)
RESERVES: Richard O'Shea (Wales); Joffa Harris (Australia); Toru Kanamori (Japan); Yamagen (Japan); Ikuo Fukuda (Japan); Aki (Japan)