Dateline: 8th September, 2012
The Gaijin gathered at Yanokuchi Field for their first round Shuto League game of 2012, in their quest to remain Shuto League champions. The opposition was All France who had just been promoted from the 2nd Division. The Gaijin had a big squad and the aim was to get an early lead and get as many players as possible onto the field in the second half as the Shuto League has fairly relaxed rules and allows more than the regulation 7 reserves; in fact the number of reserves allowed is unlimited.
The Gaijin got off to a strong start and received an early penalty for an All France player not rolling away. Standoff Toshi Miyano got the team inside the oppoisition 22 metre line with his kick for touch but the lineout went a bit awry. The Gaijin managed to recover the ball and good concerted rucking and excellent support play led to David Chan busting into a hole and slipping the ball to Miyano who dived over for the first points of the game. He missed the conversion but the Gaijin had points on the board very early in the half and showed that a blowout could be on the cards.
Not long after new recruit, Ugandan flanker Ebba was off with ankle trouble. Nik Pavesic replaced him and made an instant impact with some strong running. The Gaijin were dominating the territory and were unusually up 4 nil in the penalty count.
The usually reliable Toshi Miyano put through a cross field kick meant for his outside backs but the ball went way too far and bounced about 5 meters over the deadball line which would later earn him the Goat of the Match award. Good did come of it though as Sam Deroeck took the 22 meter dropout and proceeded to run through what seemed like the entire All France team with a jinking, swerving run across field to score out wide in the left corner. Miyano again missed the conversion. Score: TGRFC 10 v All France 0.
Deroeck also got the next try after racing 70 meters up the field and rounding the fullback with pure speed. The try came from a superb strip of the ball by Shin Nakayama in his own 22 meter area. The ball was fed to Nik Pavesic who drew his defender and put Deroeck into a neat hole. Deroeck did the rest. Miyano convereted from in front and the Gaijin now had a handy lead of 17 v 0.
Pavesic then dropped the following kickoff, proving that we are all human. The Gaijin looked to be heading for another try soon after when right winger Jun flashed up in support on the left and was put into space. He failed to use left winger Ikuo Fukuda who was looming up on his outside in support, took the tackle of the fullback, and the ball was lost in the ruck. Jun made amends soon after when he received a nice floated pass from Toshi Miyano. He cut back in field bamboozled his opponents with nice pace and swerve to score untouched under the posts. Mosese Rarasea stepped up to convert the try whihc now made the score 24 v 0.
The score was kept ticking over when Mosese Rarasea charged over the tryline a few minutes later after a quick tap from a penalty and some strong charges from Takashi Tanikawa and Shinishiro Nakayama. Rarasea converted hiss own try and the gaijin had now skipped away to a 31 v 0 lead.
The Gaijin finished the scoring for the first half when Takeshi Tanikawa went blind from the base of a scrum on the halfway line and passed a nice inside ball to Sam Deroeck who raced away untouched to score under the posts. Rarasea again converted to make the half time score 38 v 0.
The Gaijin could be quite happy with the score line and All France had a lot of work to do in front of them if they were to overhaul this large lead or to even make the score look a bit more respectable. The Gaijin looked particularly dangerous out wide with the pace and intelligent running of players like Deroeck and Jun. This was a good foil to the power running of Rarasea and David Chan in the centres. While the Gaijin scrum was dominant they were only slightly ahead in the rucking and mauling department though, it must be said, All France were constantly guilty of flopping over on the wrong side of the ruck and for not rolling away from the tackle area which meant the Gaijin had a rare nice lead in the penalty count.
With the handy lead some changes were made to the player list. Captain Alaister Nimmo had already come from the field to give new young halfback Tomoya some game time and various other changes were made soon after half time. This always tends to create a period of uncertainty in the Gaijin play when one would be hoping for a lift in intensity. This was shown about 5 minutes into the second half when the ball was fed to the left by the All France team and saw their tighthead prop storming down the field in space with a player in support outside him. The move was brought to a sudden halt though when last line of defense Sam Deroeck moved in and smashed the prop backwards. The prop didn't like being unceremoniously dumped by a fullback and starting swinging punches at Deroeck as they were tangled on the ground. This sparked what almost became an all-in-brawl as all the players came in shoving one another. The All France prop was given a Yellow Card and 10 minutes to cool himself down on the sideline.
Back to the rugby and back to the points landslide to the Gaijin with the score being increased by Hitoshi Chihara as he sliced through the All France backline after a line out on halfway and raced away to score. He failed to convert his own try which left the score at 43 v 0.
This was increased moments later from the kickoff when Max Manson passed the ball to Deroeck who found a hole in the defense and raced away to score a 60 metre try - his fourth try for the match. Chihara missed again and the score was now 48 v 0.
The second dropped kickoff of the game followed when Gaz Dalrymple spilled a sitter which was followed by a rare period of All France territorial domination as they banged away inside the Gaijin 22 metre area. The Gaijin defense was equal to the task and managed to work their way out of danger without their try line being crossed. In fact, there would have been huge disappointment from them as a bounce pass from Max Manson, just inside the All Farnce half, to Touch Roy saw the centre streak away and outpace the cover defense to score out wide on the right. Once again the conversion from Chihara was unsuccessful but it didn't matter much as the score line now read 53 v 0 to the TGRFC.
The last ten minutes became a bit scrappy for the Gaijin and All France lifted their performance to try to get on the scoreboard. Every time they looked like they might just do something that would get them some points something would go wrong like a scrum win against the feed to the Gaijin or Shinichiro Nakayama stealing their line out ball.
The Gaijin would score the last points of the game when Nik Pavesic won a line out at the back and ran 70 metres to score a well-deserved try. Chihara finally converted one and the final score was a 60 v 0 shut out to the Gaijin.
While All Farnce battled hard at the breakdown their defense was embarrassing at times. They will be having nightmares about eventual Man of the Match Sam Dereock as he often cut them to shreds and made it look 'Oh so easy'. His defense was equally as good as his attack and played a big part in the Gaijin keeping All France to a blank score line. The Gaijin forwards toiled hard and the front row deserves credit for maintaining the edge in the scrummaging department. Nik Pavesic was the pick of the forwards closely followed by Takashi Tanikawa.
The comprehensive Gaijin victory earnt them two bonus points along with the 4 points for the win, due to scoring more than 4 tries and also holding their opposition to zero. One could not ask for a better start to the Autumn season.
SCORE: TGRFC 60 (Sam Deroeck 4, Toshi Miyano 1, Jun 1, Mosese Rarasea 1, Hitoshi Chihara 1, Touch Roy 1, Nik Pavesic 1 tries; T. Miyano 1/3, M. Rarasea 3/3, H. Chihara 1/4 conversions) ALL FRANCE 0.
Man of the Match: Sam Deroeck
Goat of the Game: Toshi Miyano
1. Lachlan Ainsley (Australia)
2. Gaz Dalrymple (Scotland)
3. John Herger (USA)
4. Richard O'Shea (Wales)
5. Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan)
6. Ebba (Uganda)
7. Shinishiro Nakayama (vc) (Japan)
8. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
9. Alaister Nimmo (c) (England)
10. Toshi Miyano (Japan)
11. Junpei Shirakawa (Japan)
12. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
13. David Chan (Australia)
14. Ikuo Fukuda (Japan)
15. Sam Deroeck (England)
Reserves: Gorka Gerediago (Basque); Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan); Jesse Takahashi (USA); Gareth Palmer (Wales); Nik Pavesic (Croatia); Joffa Harris (Australia); Tomoya Nakagawa (Japan); Ryogo Takemura (Japan); Maxwell Manson (NZ); Hitoshi Chihara (Japan); Touch Roy (Australia); Eauman (Uganda), Yamagen (Japan)