Dateline: 27th April, 2014
After a rather lackluster first round of the Tokyo Cup the Tokyo Gaijin RFC were hoping for some redemption in their battle with Kurumi RFC in their second round match at Komaba Rugby Ground. The Gaijin had managed to scrape out a win in their last encounter with Kurumi more than a season ago, but knew that this was going to be a tougher encounter. With both Captain, Lachlan Ainley, and Vice-captain, Toshi Miyano, still out with injuries their aim was made even tougher.
At the end of the day though, they were given a lesson in controlled and disciplined rugby as Kurumi smashed the Gaijin to the tune of 69 points to zero. The Gaijin were simply outplayed in every phase of the game - both technically and in enthusiasm. The Gaijin had two players spend 10 minutes in the sinbin for yellow-card infringements and they also had a player sent off (red card) in the last 15 minutes. Playing a man down for 30 minutes of the game did not help their cause.
The Gaijin were on the wrong side of the referee early in the game and they were made to defend grimly for much of the first half as Kurumi RFC launched wave after wave of attack. The Gaijin were constantly penalised and match-day captain and standoff Hitoshi Chihara took some poor options in attack and had a few kicks charged down. The territorial advantage soon told and disappointing one-on-one defense saw a Kurumi forward go through a couple of Gaijin forwards from about 10 metres out to crash down at the 8th minute mark. The carnage had started and there was to be no let-up.
It got worse for the Gaijin after Sovita Tui was sinbinned for scragging someone around the neck of the jersey from behind in a desperate cover tackle. The Gaijin began to lose their shape and their discipline was wearing thin. Kurumi continued to pile on the points in his absence. Their swarming forwards were magnificent. It was like they had a couple of extra players on the field.
Not long after Tui was back on the field the Gaijin were reduced to 14 men again when Arthur Levula was yellow-carded for a tackle which the referee deemed to be a shoulder charge. It looked more like the ball-carrier had been hit so hard that he bounced off Levula before he cold wrap his arms around him. It didn't look like that to the referee and Levula was sent to the bad boy's chair.
Kurumi began to find a lot of space on the edges while the Gaijin were a back short and also kicked judiciously for the corners forcing the Gaijin to constantly turn around and chase and then face a wall of defenders. A few times the Gaijin wingers or fullback were in trouble after a good kick-chase from Kurumi and a lack of support from their own team mates.
The Gaijin limped into halftime wondering what they needed to do.
Whatever was discussed didn't seeem to work as Kurumi RFC continued to dominate the game. Their relentless rucking and counter-rucking was forcing the Gaijin into silly errors and frustrating them. The Gaijin didn't keep their composure and self-destructed.
This frustration came to a head barely 10 minutes form the end when Liam Ramshaw backhanded one of the Kurumi players. It was 'handbags at dawn' kind of stuff but the Kurumi player decided to milk it and did a flop as good as any Italian soccer player. Ramshaw decided to go on with it and did a bit of shuffling on the players body, like you might do on a rug outside your front door. He was shown the Red Card and dismissed for the rest of the game.
Kurumi were far too good at pretty much everything, and deserved winners. They made the Gaijin look almost second rate with an extraordinary and purposeful show of defensive starch and superior breakdown work. Their backs enjoyed the front foot ball given to them by their forwards and had too much class for their Gaijin opponents who always seemed to be one or two steps too slow. It was a dedicated defensive performance that saw them hold the Gaijin to zero. On the other hand, the Gaijin tackling was sometimes downright pitiful.
The Gaijin tried hard but were not in the same class. Playing 30 minutes with 14 men certainly didn't help their cause but Kurumi seemed to be getting well on top before this. Lack of fitness, lack of some of their bigger names (eg, captain and vice captain amongst others), lack of rugby sense, and in some cases, lack of heart. could all be listed as reasons.
I think you get the point. The Gaijin were diabolical and played nowhere near as good as they can. The players will want to put this one in the far reaches of their mind, or forget it altogether.
SCORE: Kurumi RFC 69 (11 tries, 7/11 goals) TGRFC 0
Man of the Match: No-one. Not awarded for perhaps the first time ever.
Goat(s) of the Match: Arthur Levula (Yellow Card), Sovita Tai (Yellow Card), Liam Ramshaw (Red Card)
1. Takaharu 'Jyake' Arumaki (Japan)
2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (Japan)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. Jesse Takahashi (USA)
5. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Motoki MItsuyori (Japan)
8. Takashi Tanikawa (vc) (Japan)
9. Sota Kaneko (Japan)
10 Hitoshi Chihara (c) (Japan)
11. Ryo Takahashi (Japan)
12. Sovita Tai (Fiji)
13. Arthur Levula (Fiji)
14. Hidenobu Sato (Japan)
15. Phillip Ferreira (South Africa)
16. Liam Ramshaw (England), 17. Andy Tindall (England), 18. Kosuke Yamamoto (Japan), 19. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan), 20 Daniel Worden (NZ), 21. Ryogo Takemura (Japan), 22. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji), 23. Wataru Sato (Japan)