Date Line: 2nd March, 2014
A 7:00 o'clock meeting time on a cold, windy morning was not conducive to getting the Tokyo Gaijin RFC players into rugby mode. It was their responsibility to set up the field for a 10:00 am kickoff against All JIn Jan RFC. By the time 10:00am rolled in the team was keen to get out on the field and get warm. Thanks to scrum power and the dynamic Fijian duo of Mosese Rarasea and Sovita Tai they were able to come away with a 24 v 5 victory.
Inside centre, Rarasea, was to play his first game at No.8 while newcomer Sovita Tai would fill Rarasea's position at centre. The Gaijin also had two 18 year olds on the bench in Taichi Hobbs and Hiroyuki Kubota - both 'halves' or 'doubles' (meaning part gaijin - part Japanese). This brought down the average age quite a bit despite the Gaijin fielding Apisai Bati & Joffa Harris - both in their mid 40's.
The game started with a bang when Sovita Tai barged through the centre of the defense from a scrum and scored under the posts with barely 3 minutes gone. Toshi Miyano converted to have the Gaijin out to an early 7 v 0 lead.
The Gaijin continued to dominate courtesy of their powerful scrum. They won a few turnovers at scrum time and forced sloppy ball for the All Jin Jan halfback as their scrum went backwards. Gaijin half Eamonn Murphy also made his opposite number's job difficult as he continued to be a pest at the back, as all good halfbacks are.
The Gaijin scored next when No.8 Mosese Rarasea came of the back of a scrum about 10 metres out from the all Jin Jan line and powered through the defense to dot down. The conversionmade the score 14 v 0 to the Gaijin.
The scoring for the half was completed when Eamonn Murphy went blind from the back of a scrum, dummied and dived over the white line. The conversion was unsuccessful this time but the Gaijin would go into halftime up 19 v 0.
Due to the conditions the half had been a scrappy affair but the Gaijin had dominated both in the possession stakes and territorially, and mostly thanks to the complete dominance of their scrum.
The second half was a real slog and a stalemate for the majority of it due to the slippery conditions and good defense.
All Jin Jan finally scored a try after Gaijin replacement fullback Yamagen had a kick charged down but failed to convert to make the score 19 v 5.
Rarasea had seemingly scored next for the Gaijin when Joffa Harris and Rarasea broke off from a lineout maul and rolled about 10 metres with the ball but the referee didn't see the grounding as they went over in a muddle of defenders. It didn't matter much as the Gaijin kept the pressure on and just a few minutes later Rarasea got his second try from the back of another powerful Gaijin scrum push deep inside the All Jin Jan 22 metre area. Yamagen failed with the conversion leaving the final score 24 v 5.
For the Gaijin, captain Lachlan Ainley led from the front but it was the No.8 debut of Mosese Rarasea that had caught the eye and he was awarded the Man of the Match. The whole forward pack were impressive with the scrum dominant throughout. The line outs, however, were poor from the Gaijin with the combination of poor throwing and the usually reliable jumper Takeshi Ochiai having hands like a digital clock on this particular day. The ball was wet and slippery which wasn't exactly conducive to good handling.
The backs were well lead by the halves combination of Eamonn Murphy and Toshi Miyano. Sovita Tui, in just his second game with the Gaijin, had a barn-stormer against his old team and made numerous charges into the eye of the defense and many half-breaks. Regular half and standoff Sota Kaneko, in his first game at fullback, was solid at the back.
SCORE: TGRFC 24 (Mosese Rarasea 2, Sovita Tui 1, Eamonn Murphy 1 tries; M. Rarasea 2/3 , Yamagen 0/1 conversions) All JIn jan 5 (1 try; 0/1 conversions)
Man of the Match: Mosese Rarasea
1. Tsukasa Takasugi (Japan)
2. Tomo Setoguchi (Japan)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. Lachlan Ainley (Australia)
5. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan)
8. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
9. Eamonn Murphy (Ireland)
10. Toshi Miyano (Japan)
11. Ryo Takahashi (Japan)
12. Sovita Tui (Fiji)
13. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan)
14. Wataru Sato (Japan)
15. Sota Kaneko (Japan)
Reserves: Natsu Kunitomo (Japan), Hiroyuki Kubota (Hong Kong), Taichi Hobbs (England), Jo Iwasaki (Japan), Yamagen (Japan)