Dateline: 15th March, 2015
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC were schooled by a much superior Supermen RFC in a 'friendly' match out at Inagi Sports Ground. The Gaijin were missing regular Captain Apisai Bati, vice captain Eamonn Murphy and a host of other players as they took an opportunity to get game time for new players and 'green' players against a full strength Supermen RFC. It was always going to be tough for the Gaijin with such a 'nuts and bolts' team against one of Tokyo's top amateur teams. Supermen had been knocked out of the Champions League by Mandara, who the Gaijin beat last week, so they were keen to get back some lost pride and came out very strongly.
The Gaijin started terribly when they dropped the opening kickoff of the match. Supermen were immediately on the attack and scored soon after first spreading the ball left and then back to the right to score within the first minute. Things were not looking good for the Gaijin, especially with their reluctance to tackle.
Supermen would score two more tries in quick succession to lead 19 v 0 early in the game, before the Gaijin got their first points after Ayato Matsuura took an intercept just outside his own 22 metre area and raced away to score next to the posts. Yamagen's conversion put a little bit of respectability back in the score line which now stood at 19 v 7 in favor of Supermen.
Supermen scored next after more feeble tackling from the Gaijin to extend their lead to 26 v 7.
The TGRFC then pegged a try back when Joffa Harris went across the try line untouched from a lineout move 5 metres out, borrowed from regular captain Apisai Bati called 'banana'. The wide conversion was missed by Yamagen to leave the score at 26 v 12.
The Supermen would score once more before halftime to lead 31 v 12 at 'oranges'.
The Gaijin looked shellshocked at halftime. Their tackling had been extremely poor and a shadow of last week's effort. Centre Arthur Levula was replaced at halftime with a serious shoulder injury which further depleted the already 'green'-looking backline. The second half centre pairing would be Ayato Matsuura, in only his second game for the club, and Roy, in his first game for the club after being borrowed from fellow Gaijin-based club All France. What's more Anthony Monette, also in just his second game for the club, had to be replaced due to a hamstring strain.
The second half didn't start much better for the Gaijin with their fragile defense leaking two more tries early in the half to fall behind 45 v 12.
Sota Kaneko scored for the Gaijin, after his forwards had tried to crash their way over and gone close to scoring themselves, to pull the lead back to 45 v 19 but they still had a lot of work to do to get back into the game.
From then on it was all one way traffic as the Supermen found constant holes in the Gaijin backline defense out on the right side of the field to score the next six tries to win 85 v 19.
In a match marred by poor defense, breakdown work and general execution from the Gaijin, the Supermen played very well as you would suspect from such a well-drilled team. The Gaijin played like a bunch of guys put togther just before the game, as was pretty much the case. They were simply awful in defense. Attack came, but it was very stop-start and lacked fluidity.
It was a baptism of fire for the new boys. Prop Abraham Knight could hold his head high after his first game for the club as he was part of a strong scrum, the only highlight of the match for the Gaijin. Anthony Monette continued to impress in his second game for the Gaijin with some strong carries. Jaimeson Musich and Nicolas Eymenier tried hard but need a litle more time to find their rugby legs. They were also often against more than one player as the Supermen seemed to have a stacked backline, which is probably more the fault of their inside men for not numbering up or simply slipping off tackles.
Goat of the game was given to Sota Kaneko for one brain explosion and average defense. With the Gaijin 5 metres out from their tryline, he purposely knocked the ball on thinking that the referee was playing a penalty advantage, but he wasn't. I think he was simply telling the players to stay on side. He looked like a goose as the scrum went to Supermen and they scored soon after. "Always play to the whistle!"
It's back to school for the Gaijin if they want to win the Final of the Champion's Cup next weekend.
SCORE: Supermen 85 (13 tries, 10/13 conversions) TGRFC 19 (Ayato Matsuura 1, Joffa Harris 1, Sota Kaneko 1 tries, Yamagen 2/3 conversions)
Goat of the Match: Sota Kaneko
1. Abraham Knight (England)
2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (c) (Japan)
3. Kosuke Yamamoto (Japan)
4. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
5. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Inigo Carro (England)
8. Glen Amos (England)
9. Wataru Sato (Japan)
10. Sota Kaneko (Japan)
11. Anthony Monette (USA)
12. Akira Yamagen (Japan)
13. Arthur Levula (Fiji)
14. Ayato Matsuura (Japan)
15. Toshinori Minamidate (Japan)
Reserves: Tsukasa Takasugi (Japan), Paul Bertier (France), Hidenobu Sato (Japan), Jaimeson Musich (USA), Nicolas Eymenier (France), Roy (Japan via All France)