Dateline: March 21st-22nd, 2015

The Tokyo Gaijin RFC has been attending the Manila 10's for 10 years now and it is a much anticipated event on the Tokyo Gaijin calendar. Preparations start many months in advance and Tomohiro Setoguchi must be heartily thnaked for all the hard work that he put into the event. There were the usual pull outs in the weeks before-hand, frustrating his efforts, but 6 players from outside Tokyo helped the team put together a healthy squad of 15 players.

Many thanks must go to Mike Parks, an ex-Gaijin player from England (who now resides in Australia), Alan Haines, also an ex-Gaijin Englishman (now living in Hong Kong), and Australian Peter Harris (now living in England), brother of long time player Joffa Harris and  regular Manila tourist. Also joining the squad were  three ex-team mates of Gaijin utility back Hitoshi Chihara. Takahiro Shimada, Katsumi Kitagawa and Tomoya Tanaka all made the trip from their Osaka home, to help bolster the squad.

The team enjoyed the the best of what the Philippines has to offer - hot, sunny weather and beer, beer and some more beer - San Miguels mostly. The rugby was also an important part of the weekend with the Gaijin putting on a good showing on the Saturday but their Sunday finished disappointingly early, perhaps because of those damn San Miguels and a late-ish Saturday night.

On the Saturday, the Gaijin came up against the three other teams in their pool, and won 2 out of 3 of their games.

V Baretto Blues 27 v 0 win (Toshinori MInamidate 2, Nik Pavesic 2, Wataru Sato1. tries; Sota Kaneko 1/5 conversions)

v Pot Bellied Pigs 17 v 0 win (Nik Pavesic 1, Hitoshi Chihara 1, Sota Kaneko 1 tries; Kaneko 1/3 conversions)

v Bangkok Bangers 0 v 10 loss

Bright and early on the Sunday, the Gaijin came up against Hapons Samurai, a Manila based Japanese team, in the quarter finals.

v Hapons Samurai 5 v 7 loss (Hitoshi Chihara try; Chihara 0/1 conversions)

That was the end of the tournament for the Gaijin. The Gaijin looked the better team individually but the Hapons played better as a team. I would also suggest that while the Gaijin tried to go to bed early (I'm recollecting 2 am) the Hapons would have had a very early night and got the rewards for their sacrifies while the Gaijin paid the price. Perhaps next year, there may be a ban on any drinks past midnight on the Saturday night as the Gaijin really should have done better against a team that looked weaker. The missed conversion by Hitoshi Chihara in the final was also costly, but still would not have won the game.

The rest of the day was spent filling in for other teams, swimming in the pool and drinking beer.  5 or 6 guys played for the Seoul Survivors, who had about half their team out, not having 'survived' the festivities of the night before. Nik Pavesic and Takahiro Shimada went on to play out the tournament for the Bangkok Bangers and featured prominently in their day as they went on to win the Shield Final.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable tour. The weather was brilliant, the Nomads Rugby Club put on an excellent tournament, the bars of Makati kept the amber liquid and smiles flowing and the boys didn't take a backward step at the Kangaroo Court.........except for Samurai Chihara.

Once again, a big thanks for Tomohiro Setoguchi for all his organization, and Phillip Ferreira for his assistance. And also a big thankyou for those 3 boys from abroad and the three from Osaka. And a big thanks to the Woodman's Head for their continued sponsorship of the team, at the Manila 10's.

The team having dinner at the Woodman's head - afine Makati establishment with beers, food and a games room.

TEAM: Tomohiro Setoguchi (Manager), Nik Pavesic (C), Joffa Harris, Peter Harris, Wataru Sato, Gorka Gerediaga, Mike Parks, Hitoshi Chihara, Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka, Toshinori MInamidate, Sota Kaneko, Alan Haines, Takahiro Shimada, Katsumi Kitagawa, Tomoya Tanaka

Below: The team heading out for a few brews.

Also, here is a shot of the two boys who won medals for winning the Shield Final getting the Ice Bath. You can see a video of the full event at: