In a further 'friendly' game before the upcoming summer break the Gaijin gathered at their usual training ground, the dry-as-a bone Yanokuchi Field out Chofu way, for a match against Dasewa RFC, who have just been promoted to the 1st Division of the Tokyo Cup. The Gaijin team kicked off featuring 5 new players and one on the bench. New starters were props Lachlan Ainley from Australia and Gorka Gerediaga from the Basque region of Spain, utility back Maxwell Manson from New Zealand, brothers Ebba and Eaman Kamuhanda from Uganda, and virgin rugby player Andrew Fennel from the USA.
The Gaijin started promisingly when they managed to retrieve their own kickoff and spent the first few minutes around their opposition's 22 metre line. But, as is often the case, the first penalty was against the Gaijin and it was for hands in the ruck. What a surprise! They fought their way back into the Dasewa 22 with Takeshi Ochiai having a nice snipe down the blind but Touch Roy knocked on the pass putting a fullstop to any promise in the movement. The Gaijin kept hammering away at the 22 metre area and were helped by a superior scrum. A scrum win against the head moments later sawNo.8 Takashi Tanikawa go close to the line but good defense and a lack of support saw him go unrewarded.
The Gaijin should have scored the first try soon after but once again inaccuracy let them down. Tanikawa made a nice break and drew the last defender and passed to Liam Ramshaw in support but the pass was a shocker and the try went begging.
Then it was Dasewa's turn to spark a try but fullback Bryan O'Brien saved the day with a big hit on a Dasewa player that had broken through the line and left him crumpled on the grround for a few minutes.
It wasn't until the 21st minute of the first half that Dasewa finally got into the Gaijin's half but they were ssoon penaalised and sent back into their own half. The deadlock was finaally broken when Toshi Miyano made a good solo snipe down the blind side and beat the cover to score out on the left (highway side). He failed to convert his own try but the Gaijin finally had some points to show for their dominance thus far. Score: 5 v 0.
From the kickoff the Dasewa side made a fundamental error and were in front of their own kicker so the Gaijin received a penlty on halfway.
Dasewa did finally get a first half try at the 26 minute mark when they scored from a lineout close to the Gaijin line with a rolling maul that the Gaijin failed to halt. They missed their conversion and left the scores tied at 5 v 5.
With 30 minute halves the order of the day due to the heat and humidity and the fact that it was only a 'friendly' the sscore remained 5 v 5 until halftime.
The Gaijin returned more determined and energized after the break despite the seriously hot and humid weather. A few changes were made with more experienced players in Shinichiro Nakayama, John Herger and Joffa Harris brought on to add some grunt.
The move paid off with Shinichiro Nakayama taking a quick penalty tap not long into the second half and divng over in the corner as the opposition snoozed. Miyano was unsuccessful with the converssion but the Gaijin were back in front 10 v 5.
The Gaijin increased their lead 5 minutes later when Miyano fed Joffa Harris a pass from the back of a ruck very close to the Dasewa tryline. Harris crashed at the line, spun and fed prop Lachlan Ainley the ball. Ainley carried two tacklers over the line with him, to score on debut for the Gaijin and get his TGRFC playing days off to a great start. Miyano converted pushing the lead out to 17 v 5.
Dasewa scored next to make a game of it at 17 v 10 but they let Mosese Rarasea's kickoff bounce and then got a bad bounce and the opposition player that finally took the ball was smashed and lost it in the tackle. Touch Roy and then Mosese Rarasea toed the ball ahead and Bryan O'Brien won the race to the ball and dived on it over the tryline. Yamagen failed to convert with the lead now 22 v 10.
Dasewa were to score again but the Gaijin responded with one of their own when Touch Roy scored the next try when he cut back in towards his forwards after receiving the ball from a ruck and with his side hot on attack. Yamagen again failed to convert but the 27 v 15 scoreline was to be the final score.
Touch Roy should have scored again soon after from a similar move but as he charged back into the defense and dived at the line the ball came out of his hands as an opposition player managed to get his leg in the road. He was later awarded Goat of the Game for his effort, or lack thereof.
For the Gaijin, props Lachlan Ainley and Gorka Gerediaga were instrumental in the Gaijin's superior scrummaging and both made some excellent charges into the eye of the defense. Dave Kelver had a good first half after about 3 months out with work commitmenst but the heat got to him and he had to spend the second half resting int he shade. The Takeshi and Takashi show also worked well.
In the backs new boy Max Manson worked hard at halfback despite carrying a grroin strain through the match. He finally had to be replaced in the last ten minutes and flanker Takeshi Ochiai was used as a halfback. Takeshi Kawai was brilliant early and despite the early dominace of the Gaijin he was the only one that looked like he was going to break the defensive line. With more support some of his busts could have turned into early tries. He was awarded the Man of the Match award but was taken off about 10 minutes into the second half with a nasty knee complaint. Andrew Fennel on the wing aquitted himself well and proved that he is a fast learner making no obvious mistakes in his first game of rugby. The first Ugandans to play for the club (except that fella Angga brought along who played about 5 minutes before he went off with a hamstring strain and was never seen again) Ebba and Eaman Kamuhanda found the pace of the game a bit faster than they expected but not having played rugby for 8 years it was to be expected.
I must admit I erred somewhere in the scoring as at some point in the second half Dasewa kicked a penalty goal. I'm guessing when the scores were quite close together.SCORE: TGRFC 27 (5 Tries, T. Miyano 0/2, Yamagen 1/3 conversions) Dasewa 18 (3 tries, 0/3 conversions, 1/1 penalties)
Man of the Match: Takeshi Kawai
Goat of the Match: Touch Roy
1. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
2. Liam Ramshaw (England)
3. Lachlan (Australia)
4. John Simpson (USA)
5. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan)
6. Ebba Kamuhanda (Uganda)
7. Dave Kelver (USA)
8. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
9. Max Manson (NZ)
10. Toshi Miyano (c) (Japan)
11.Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
12. Touch Roy (Australia)
13. Takeshi Kawai (Japan)
14. Andrew Fennel (USA)
15. Bryan O'Brien (USA)
16. Paulo de Berriozabal (Basque)
17. John Herger (USA)
18. Joffa Harris (Australia)
19. Shinichiro Nakayama (Japan)
20. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
21. Eaman Kamuhanda (Uganda)
22. Yamagen (Japan)