Dateline: July 6, 2014
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC were pumped up and ready to bring home some silverware from the Shuto League 10's. The Tokyo Gaijin had two teams in the 24 team competition and were hoping to emulate the Southern Hemisphere TGRFC of 2010 and 2013 as past winners of the tournament. The Southern Hemisphere TGRFC were keen to make it back-to-back victories and become Champions once again after winning the event last year. The Northern Hemisphere TGRFC were just as keen to take it away from them. The build-up and banter between the two made for an interesting week prior to the day.
The finalists of the Shuto League Tens - Runners-up TGRFC Southern Hemisphere & winners Nihon University OB's
The Southern Hemisphere team did not disappoint making it all the way to the finals undefeated. They came up against a very young, fit and strong team (despite their hot pink jerseys) in Nihon University Old Boys (Nichidai) and one missed tackle led to the only try of the game in a very closely fought contest.
Along the way they won 7 of their 8 matches and drew their first one, with a typically rusty first-up TGRFC performance, where a few of their players still hadn't turned up for the early start.
Everyone played their part for the South but Joe Nawaqavanua was a standout as was Ryo Takahshi, who did a great job at halfback, constantly sniping for breaks and hassling his opposition number. Two new members in the forwards, in young Taichii and Yuta also had a phenomonal workrate.
Joe Nawaqavanua scored a wonderful 55 metre try against All France but the best try of the day for the South was a superb individual effort form Apisai Bati when he chipped ahead in his own half, won the race to the ball and sprinted away 40 metres to score under the posts.
While the final was certainly a tough game, the Southern players to a man all thought that the toughest game all day was against their Northern brethren, the Northern Hemisphere TGRFC.
The Northern team had won only three of their five pool games but the quirks of the draw put them up against the Southern team in the first knockout stage which was much earlier than anyone wanted or anticipated. Management was hoping to have them both in the final like last year which turned into an epic 2 v 1 victory to the Southerners.
The pick of the Northerners was captain Hitoshi Chihara but they were also well represented by Gorga Gerediaga and Paul Bertier.
Both teams are already looking forward to doing battle in the Shuto 10's next year.
Look below for the day's results and both Gaijin team's members.
Southern Hemisphere TGRFC
v Crusaders 0 v 0 Draw
v Clovers RFC 1 v 0 Win (Sovita Tui 1try)
v Otowa RFC 3 v 0 Win (Joseph Vanualailai 1, Joe Nawaqavanua 1, Dati 1 tries)
v Yamanashi 3 v 0 Win (Kazu 2, Ryo Takahashi 1 tries)
v Fuji 2 v 1 Win (Joe Nawqavanua 1, Mosese Rarasea 1 tries)
Round 1 Knockout
v TGRFC North 1 v 0 Win (Apisai Bati 1 try)
v Wild Turkeys 2 v 0 Win (Joe Nawaqavanua 1, Apisa Bati 1 tries)
v All France 2 v 0 Win (Joe Nawaqavanua 2 tries)
v Nihon University Old Boys (Nichidai) 0 v 1 Loss
Northern Hemisphere TGRFC
v Zenkai Beers 3 v 1 Win (Hitoshi Chihara1, Kazuhito Takeshita 1, Wataru Sato 1 tries)
v Wild Turkeys 3 v 2 Win (Alaister Nimmo 1, Paul Bertier 1, Hitoshi Chihara 1 tries)
v Acorn 1 v 2 Loss (Paul Bertier try)
v All Jin Jan 2 v 1 Win (Hitoshi Chihara 2 tries)
v Hurricanes 0 v 1 Loss
Round 1 Knockout
v South TGRFC 0 v 1 Loss
The Southern Hemisphere Tokyo Gaijin RFC - Runners-up in the 2014 Shuto League 10's.
Southern Hemisphere TGRFC
1. Apisa Bati (c) (Fiji)
2. Joe Nawaqavnua (Fiji)
3. Joseph Vanualailai (Fiji)
4. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
5. Arthur Levula (Fiji)
6. Lazarus Malaitini (Fiji)
7. Joffa Harris (Australia)
8. Murray Clarke (NZ)
9. Blake Walker (NZ)
10. Phillip Ferreira (South Africca)
11. Yuta (Japan)
12. Taichii (Japan)
13. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan)
14. Ryo Takahashi (Indonesia/Japan)
15. Tetsu (Japan)
16. Dati (Japan)
The Northern Hemisphere TGRFC.
Nothern Hemisphere TGRFC
1. Hitoshi Chihara (c) (Japan)
2. Tomo Setoguchi (Japan)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. Wataru Sato (Japan)
5. Junpei Shirakawa (Japan)
6. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
7. Kazuhiro Takeshita (Japan)
8. Hidenobu Sato (Japan)
9. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
10. Alaister Nimmo (England)
11. Liam Ramshaw (England)
12. Andy Tindall (England)
13. Paul Bertier (France)
14. Yaon Peyroche (France)
15. Yuki Kubota (Hong Kong)