The TGRFC Northern Hemisphere squad arrived fit and ready for work in the stifling heat of the day. Numbers gradually increased over the course of the day, but the core playmakers and gameplan stayed roughly consistent for the day. The NH were placed in a different pool for the first stage of the tournament.
Joining the ranks for their debut in a Gaijin shirt were Tim Bresnan and Justin from the Seoul survivors, both made extremely welcome in the front row. Other noteworthy entries were Tatsuya Ono, who had played his first game for the Gajin just the previous day in the Oakwood cup.
Thanks to the extra front-rowers, a glance at the team at the beginning of the tournament gave reason for optimism. The team was fit, reliable in defence and imaginative in attack, particularly in the magic combination of Tatsuya at scrum-half, Toshi Miyano at fly half and Hitoshi Chihara at centre. It was hoped that in addition to the penetrative play by this backs combination, Alex Glover would continue his yearlong habit of punching through any defensive line.
The simple approach was to do everything simply but accurately, and ensure that the ball was either in our hands or over the try line. This approach yielded great reward and throughout the pool stages, the NH rarely had to retreat to their own half on the defense. After restarts the NH defensive pressure often squeezed errors, kicks and loose passes from the opposition, which were unfailingly turned to profit. During the pool stages every squad member gave maximum effort during their time on the pitch, with everyone taking the chance to make key tackles and push the team towards a score. Backs and forwards mobilised quickly to support rucks, which encouraged strong running and provided a platform for quick balls out. Tatsuya Ono showed particular imagination and ability from these situations, humbling disordered defensive lines to score again and again. Only the final fixture of the 5 pool games saw a blight in an otherwise perfect record. In a match where a couple of key injuries occurred, the NH were finally caught short on a move that began on the halfway line, and lost by one try to zero. The injuries were serious, and took Wataru Sato (broken vertabrae) and Toshi Miyano (sprained ankle) out of the tournament. In a previous fixture Alex Glover also sustained a knock to the calf that left him unable to continue.
As way of a break in play, two exhibition matches were played over noon, and spectators were treated to a team of props setting the turf alight against a team of referees.
- Next >>