June 22, 2014

The Tokyo Gaijin RFC, having finished their Tokyo Cup season, played a Friendly game against Zenkai Beers (and a few company player ring-ins) at the lovely Tatsumi Complex in central Tokyo. It was a game played in 27 minute thirds (That's right....and don't ask me why) and the Gaijin were actually outscored in the first and third parts of the game but a 35 point unanswered flurry in the second third helped them to victory in the high scoring game.

The game kicked off with the Gaijin running right to left with the grandstand at the audience's back. The Zenkai Beers were the first team to register points after two straight penalties got them deep into Gaijin territory. One of their forwards charged over the line through weak defense about 10 metres to the left of the posts. They failed with the conversion leaving them with a 5 v 0 advantage after 5 minutes.

Mosese Rarasea's kickoff didn't make it the required 10 metres and the Gaijin found themselves defending in their own half again. In the 9th minute the Beers right side winger was racing for the corner but he was held up over the line in a great tackle by Phillip Ferreira. The Beers then won the Gaijin scrum with a superior push but the Gaijin managed to steal it back. Sota Kaneko then put up a horrible kick from behind his own line that lolly-popped up in the air and went just 10 metres forward, but once again Phillip Ferreira came up with a crunching tackle that drove the receiver back. The Gaijin managed to work their way upfield and Jo Iwasaki put through a well-placed grubber kick. The Zenkai Beers winger spilt the ball and Sota Kaneko was on the spot to clean up and race away to score. Mosese Rarasea failed with the conversion to leave the scores equal at 5 v 5.

The Gaijin backline was starting to show big holes for the Zenkai Beers backs and this led to the next points of the game. With some lazy forwards in the Gaijin backline Takeshi Ochiai was sold a dummy and the Zenkai Beers player went through a big gap and then swung the ball to his supporting winger who ran around under the posts to score. The try was converted and Zenkai Beers now led 12 v 5.

Once again Mosese Rarasea's kickoff failed to go the required 10 metres. Soon after the Gaijin managed tto make amends when they won a scrum against the feed inside their own half. The ball was spun out to Rarasea who smashed away 2 tacklers and made a good break to score in the right corner, and make up for his previous indiscretion. He failed with the conversion though leaving the Gaijin two points adrift of the lead;  Zenkai Beers still in front 12 v 10.

The first water break was taken at the 27th minute mark as the heat of the day started to take its toll. The Gijin made numerous changes to give everybody game time.

2 minutes into the second third of the game, fresh replacement Hitoshi Chihara was given a yellow card for a spear tackle and sent to the naughty chair for 10 minutes.

Soon after another fresh replacement in Yamagen missed a relatively easy tackle and seemd to give the Zenkai Beers their next points but a great tackle from Arthur Levula saved a try. Further silly errors followed for the Gaijin when Gorka Gerediaga was psuhed into touch after tacking a very skinny blind-side option. Then the Giajin lost their own scrum.

The Gaijin finally put together soem good play and after good, consistent ruck work Alaister Nimmo raced across the try linefrom a ruck 2 metres out. Yamagen converted to finally put the Gaijin in front 17 v 12.

The next points also went to the Gaijin after some quick thinking from Hitoshi Chihara. He did a quick 'tap and go' inside his own 22 metre area from a penalty and made a good break. and then passed off to Don Tanaka who then shovelled it onto Wataru Sato. Tanaka stayed alive in the movement  and secured quick ruck ball and offloaded to Takashi Tanikawa who ran around under the posts to score. Yamagen converted and the Gaijin were now leading 24 v 12.

Kenji Yokohama continued the points spurt with a 50 metre break and then beat the Zenkai fullback to score in the corner. Yamagen, surprisingly, converted from near touch to put the Gaijin out to a 31 v 12 lead.

Winger Wataru Sato then made along break and rounded the fullback with an 'in and away' but was run down from behind.....his pace is actually quite deceptive - he's slower than he looks.

This was a much more 'fluent' third of rugby for the Gaijin due to a few more experienced players being on the park. The Gaijin capitalized on the gained territory though and after some good lead-up work by the forwards, Mosese Rarasea scored under the posts. Yamagen again converted to push the lead out to 38 v 12.

The Gaijin were not done yet though. Mosese Rarasea took a quick penalty tap about 10 metres out form the Zenkai try line and exploded through the first line of tacklers to score under the posts. Yamagen successfully converted. Score TGRFC 45 over Zenkai Beers 12.

So the second third of the game had been quite productive for the Gaijin. They had scored 35 unanswered points to take a handsome lead into the final third of the game. Once again, quite a few changes were made to the playing personnel.

The first try of the final third was to be the best of the match with some crisp interpassing and support play. It started with  the Gaijin turning over a Zenkai Beers scrum feed 5 meters out from their own line. Halfback Ryogo Takemura went down the blind side and passed off to No.8 Apisai Bati. Then  it went through the hands to Sovita Tui, Joe Nawaqavanua, back to Tui, back to Bati, and then onto Wataru Sato to complete a beautiful flowing 95 metre try. Yamagen converted from close to in front of the posts to stretch the lead to 52 v 12.

Zenkai Beers needed to get back into the game and needed to do it in a hurry. They did just that after a string of penalties and a few good offloads in tackles creating open spaces and they crashed over to score in the left hand corner. They failed to convert though  but had lessened the lead to 52 v 17.

A few kick exchanges was followed by big Fijian Joe Nawaqavanua breaking through to score to the right of the posts. Yamagen again converted to increase the lead further to 59 v 17.

The Gaijin semed to take their foot off the accelerator after this last try and the defense softened up and Zenkai Beers enjoyed a large chunk of time deep in Gaijin territory on the attack. They would score the last three tries of the game to make the score a little more respectable for them. The first try was through soft defense and a good offload in a tackle to get a try on the left which was unconverted. The second was a 90 metre effort when they took a quick penalty tap 10 metres out form their own line and caught the Gaijin asleep and ran the length of the field to score under the posts, and duly convert. The third was scored out wide from a run down the blind from a scrum 8 metres out form the Gaijin line and was not converted.

 Before the last try things got a a little heated and there was some nasty play. The Gaijin were putting in some big hits which their opposition took offense to. Joe Nawaqavanua was sinbinned for not making a clear release of the tackler as he made a play for the ball but the game was already well into the last 10 minutes and the Gaijin had a comfortable lead, though Zenkai Beers did their best to whittle it down.

So the final score ended up 59 v 34.  Gorka Gerediaga was the pick of a hard-working forward pack and duly won Man of the Match honours. Mosese Rarasea was the pick of the bakcs with some explosive running and three 'meat pies', though he left his kicking boots at home 'fluffing' two kickoffs and both shots at goal. Phillip Ferreira also had a solid game and is growing into the standoff role very well.

 

SCORE: TGRFC 59 ( Mosese Rarasea 3, Sota Keneko 1, Alaister Nimmo 1, Takashi Tanikawa 1, Kenji Yokohama 1, Wataru Sato 1, Joe Nawaqavanua 1 tries; M. Rarasea 0/2, Yamagen 7/7 conversions) Zenkai Beers 34 (6 tries, 2/6 conversions)

Man of the Match: Gorka Gerediaga

Goat of the Match: Joe Nawaqavanua (yellow card)

TEAM:

1. Kosuke Yamamoto (Japan)

2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (Japan)

3. Gorka gerediaga (Basque)

4. Bryan O'Brien (USA)

5. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan)

6. Hidenobu Sato (Japan)

7. Paul Bertier (France)

8. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)

9. Ryogo Takemura (Japan)

10. Phillip Ferreira (South Africa)

11. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)

12. Sovita Tai (Fiji)

13. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)

14. Sota Kaneko (Japan)

15. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)

Reserves: Yuji Takaku (Japan), Andy Tindall (England), Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan), Joe Nawaqavua (Fiji), Apisa Bati (Fiji), Kenji Yokohama (Japan), Alaister Nimmo (England), Blake Walker (NZ), Ryo Takahashi (Japan), Hitoshi Chihara (Japan), Kiyoshi (Japan), Wataru Sato (Japan), Kenji (Japan), Yamagen (Japan)