Dateline: March 21-24, 2014
The annual Manila 10's is a much anticipated event on the Tokyo Gaijin RFC calendar and the team had managed to get a decent squad away from their work and families for a weekend of rugby and extreme indulgence in amber liquids. The tour couldn't get off the ground without a hiccup though, despite the good work of organizers Phillip Ferreira and Tomohiro Setoguchi. It was Jesse Takahashi that made the trip out to Narita airport to be told that he couldn't fly because his passport had less than 6 months of validity. Enjoy your weekend in Tokyo Jesse. I'm sure we'll have a beer for you.
The Manila 10's celebrated their 25th year this year and the organizers were hoping for another successful year. The Tokyo Gaijin were also hoping to emulate their 2010 performance when they were crowned Bowl Champions.
"Over the years the Manila 10's has been a great event that brings together teams of different races, ages and nationalities to compete and promotes rugby here in the Philippines" said Rick Santos, president of the Philippine Rugby Football Association.
"Considering the great run of the Philippine Volcanoes over the past year the Manila 10's is one way we can share what this game is all about - teamwork, sportsmanship, determination, discipline and fun" he added.
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC brought the teamwork, sportsmanship, determination, not much discipline and oodles of fun with them in their quest for silverware.
After a big night out on the Friday night it was soon apparent that the TGRFC were out of their league in the top division (they traditionally were seeded in the lower division). The first day included three games against the other teams in their pool with the results below showing that they were outclassed.
Saturday Pool Rounds
v Potoroos 0 v 21 (loss)
This team from Darwin Australia were too good for the Gaijin and coming from Darwin were obviously used to the heat and humidity.
v Rowzy Pegasi 5 v 25 (loss)
Rowzy Pegazi is a Melbourne based rugby side 'that travels the world in search of quality rugby, good laughs and all things rowzy". Leo Tuisolia scored the only try for the Gaijin. Duncan Foster, who toured with the Gaijin last year and plays with ex-Gaijin Mauro Sauco in Singapore, did his ACL in this game and was out for the rest of the tournament and probably a year beyond that.
v Alabang Eagles 0 v 35 (loss)
The Alabang Eagles are one of the top teams in the Philippines and had just recently won the JML 10's League between all locally based teams. They were well versed in the art of 10's rugby and were just too fast for the Gaijin.
SUNDAY - The important Games
Bowl Quarter Finals
v Hong Kong Scorpions 22 v 7 (win)
The Gaijin were looking to make amends for their poor performances yesterday and were more appropriately placed in the Bowl Division. They finally got the win they were looking for with a 4 tries to one performance. Wataru Sato, Tomohiro Setoguchi, Leo Tuisolia and Gareth (guesting from Taipei Baboons after a few injuries hit the Gaijin) scored tries.
Bowl Quarter Final
v Alabang Falcons 0 v 29 (loss)
The Falcons, who are predominantly from Papua New Guinea, showed they have adapted from rugby league to now understand the rules of rugby union. They had just completed 5 weeks of 10's rugby in the Philippine Football Rugby Union JML 10's. The Falcons strong defense and love of attacking rugby served them well as they dominated the semi-final.
They were too fit, fast and furious for a Tokyo Gaijin team who didn't treasure the ball and gave it away at inopportune times. An example of this was when the Gaijin were on the attack in the Falcons 22 metre area and got a penalty. Captain Hitoshi Chihara tapped incorrectly and from the scrum the Falcons raced 75 metres to score. From being on the attack inside the Falcons 22 metre area the Gaijin found themselves standing under their own posts......and that is pretty much how the whole game went.
So the playing part of the tournament was over for another year but the Gaijin still had a bar to drink dry and a kangaroo Court to mete out fines to those ill-disciplined players that corrupted the tour rules. Rugby was the winner but the mateship and camaraderie soon took over.
As many fellow teams commented, the Gaijin were the best dressed team both on and off the field, and arguably the most festive.
One thing that the Gaijin tour members took pride in, or at least shone the spotlight on the quality of some of the teams that they played, was that two of the teams went on to win Division titles with the Potoroos winning the Plate and the Alabang Falcons winning the Bowl (see Championship results below).
The team would like to thank our sponsors "The Woodsman's Head" a fantastic British pub in Makati that sells excellent food and beers and also has all the rugby on a big screen and a back room where you can play billiards and darts.
Many thanks to organizers Tomohiro Setoguchi & Phillip Ferreira who did a great job ensuring the tour was a fantastic success. Many thanks also to off-shore Gaijin members Mauro Sauco and Duncan Armstrong (Singapore), Leo Tuisolia (Fiji) and Mike Parks (Australia) for making the effort to come over to Manila and ensure we had a strong playing group.
Enjoying the finals while keeping hydrated.
JML New Zealand Warriors 69 v LMRDT (Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team) 0 - Cup
Alabang Falcons 10 v Alabang Ibons 0 - Bowl
Potoroos 19 v Manila Nomads 5 - Plate
Noamds Carabaos 29 V Brisbane Vulgarians 5 - Shield
SCC Growlers 10 v Extinct Volcanoes 0 - Veterans
1. Mauro Sauco (Argentina)
2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (Japan)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. Nik Pavesic (Croatia)
5. Murray Clarke (NZ)
6. Liam Ramshaw (England)
7. Joffa Harris (Australia))
8. Mike Parks (England)
9. Duncan Armstrong (England)
10. Phillip Ferreira (South Africa)
11. Hitoshi Chihara (c) (Japan)
12. Sota Kaneko (Japan)
13. Wataru Sato (Japan)
14. Kazu Setoguchi (Japan)
15. Leone 'Leo' Tuisolia (Fiji)
16. Jay Leroy (Canada)
17. Gareth (NZ)
Ready for a night out on the town.
The Gaijin front row.