Timeline: March 1, 2015
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC gathered at Asaka Ground out at Musashi University to play a 'friendly' match against the University in order to get in a good preparation for the upcoming Champion's Cup (aka. The Cup Winners Cup). They were playing a young, fit ,fast and well-drilled University team which would be a good rehearsal for the approaching Cup.
Musashi University ran out comfortable winners to the tune of 38 v 10. The young boys were very well-drilled and had many willing runners as they came at the Gaijin in waves. Their scrum was also the most powerful the Gaijin had come up against in over a year and often shunted the Gaijin scrum backwards.
The Gaijin started well but it was to be the university side that would score the first points when superiority in numbers allowed them to crash ovre the line. the conversion put them out to a 7 v 0 lead.
The Gaijin then scored when No.8 Hiroyuki Ikeuchi received a nice inside pass to burst over the tryline after some good leadup work from Apisai Bati and Toshinori Minanidate. Bati Junior failed with the connversion to leave the score at 7 v 5 to Musashi University.
Play went back and forth for the rest fo the half. Musashi University looked the stronger team but when the Gaijin put together multiple phases they also looked good. Unfortunately, their moments of good play would be crueled by a dropped ball or the referee's whistle.
Musashi University would score twice again before halftime. The second came when the Gaijin botched a clearance kick from within their own 22 metre area. A kick through by the University side was taken just 5 metres out from the Gaijin line and new centre Dan Benson tried to clear it when the better option may have been to see if it would roll over the tryline. The kick speared sideways and barely made it to the 22 metre line where almost the whole Musashi backline was waiting without a Gaijin player in sight. The conversion made the halftime lead 19 v 0.
The second half was all Musashi University as they scored three more tries to go 38 v 5 in front. The Gaijin got a consolation try to Sovita Tui after excellent leadup work by Apisai Bati Junior, to finish the match 38 v 10 down.
It was a good warm up game for the Champion's Cup as the Gaijin were shown that they needed to be fitter and more willing to get up and tackle again and again....as well-drilled teams like Musasshi University will just keep coming back at you over and over.
For the Gaijin, Sovita Tui and Apisa Bati Junior stood out as the best players. Tui made some big, bruising hits and ran strongly all day. Junior was also very constuctive in attack and the team missed his skill-set when he was moved from standoff to wing in the second half. Dan Benson, despite the early hiccup with his botched kick, had a strong first game for the Gaijin and ran robustly with the ball and made some good 'text-book' low tackles. Ayato Mtasuura was also safe out on the wing in his first game for the Gaijin and lock Chihaya Nakajima also put in some solid hits and charges on debut.
SCORE: Musashi University 38 (6 tries; 4/6 conversions) TGRFC 10 (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi 1, Sovita Tui 1 tries, Bati Junior 0/2 conversions)
Man of the Match: Sovita Tui
1. Takaharu 'Jyake' Arumaki (Japan)
2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (Japan)
3. Kosuke Yamamoto (Japan)
4. Paul Bertier (France)
5. Chihaya Nakajima (Japan)
6. Apisa Bati (c) (Fiji)
7. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
8. Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (Japan)
9. Eamonn Murphy (vc) (Ireland)
10. Apisai Bati Junior (Fiji)
11. Ayato Matsuura (Japan)
12. Sovita Tui (Fiji)
13. Dan Benson (USA)
14. Hidenobu Sato (Japan)
15. Toshinori Minamidate (Japan)
Reserves used: Will Baker (Wales), Kazuhiro Takeshita (Japan), Inigo Carro (England), Joffa Harris (Australia), Glen Amos (England), Sota Kaneko (Japan), Mosese Rarasea (Fiji), Ryo Takahashi (Japan), Akira Yamagen (Japan)