Dateline: October 4th, 2015
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC have blown All Jin Jan RFC off the park with a comprehensive victory at Inagi Stadium in the second round of the 2015 Shuto League.. The 15 try blitz gave the Gaijin an 89 v 7 victory.. Gorka Gerediaga, Joe Nawaqavanua and new boy Harry Bucknell scored doubles. The Gaijin also introduced four new players into the game in Michael Van der Lans from the Netherlands, Nathan Rasquinet from Belgium, Boris Gombeer from France and the aforementioned Harry Bucknell from England. It is interesting to note that there were 13 different nationalities in the Gaijin squad which may be a new club record. ...and the new Scottish guy slept in and missed the game.
All Jin Jan RFC kicked off on a beautiful sunny day that was superb for rugby. It was soon evident that they were going to struggle all day aganst the Gaijin scrum which pushed them backwards at a great rate of knots not long after kickoff.
The first clean break came form Jay Leroy who bolted into space after quick hands along the backline. Aftre a 30 metre gallop he passed to the supporting Tatsuma Muto but the defense closed in and the ball was lost in the next ruck.
In the next scrum the Gaijin again demolished the AJJ pack but their number 8 managed to get the ball out, something he proved adept at all day. The ball was never clean though and the Gaijin flankers or halfback usually managed to stop him in his tracks.
All Jan Jan were putting through some searching kicks early which tested the Gaijin's ability to backtrack and help their fullback. There were some anxious moments but the outside backs usually scrambled well.
The scoring started in the 7th minute of the game after a series of quick mauls saw the ball passed out to Nathan Corrie who raced 50 metres to score next to the posts. Dan Benson converted to start the points rolling. Score: 7 v 0 to the Gaijin.
In the 12th minute a series of passes ended with Toshinori Minamidate passing to Jeremy Burns and then onto Dan Benson who looped around to score in the corner. He failed with the wide conversion leaving the score at 12 v 0 to the Gaijin.
From the ruck ensuing from the kickoff taken by Liam Ramshaw, Tomohiro Setoguchi went straight through the defensive line for a valuable 20 metres. Jospeh Vanualailai supoorted well to cotinue the charge and Liam Ramshaw was again involved in trucking the ball up. A beautiful pop pass from Toshinori Minamidate saw Vanualailai, who ran a lovely line, go straight through under the posts untouched to score. Benson again converted to make the score 19 v 0.
In the 19th minute a good break by Jay Leroy ended with Jaimeson Musich running 40 metres down the right touchline, beating the AJJ fullback on the way to the corner and then running around to score under the posts. Benson again converted for a 26 v 0 scoreline.
Not long after the kickoff in the 22nd minute All Jin Jan scored a soft try to stop all the one way traffic. From a maul formed about 20 metres out from the Gaijin try line, one of their forwards simplly spun off the maul with no defenders near him, and saw day light with no fullback home. The conversion made it 26 v 7. With all the attack, the Gaijin had forgotten to defend.
In the 16th minute Jay Leroy went straight through the defensive line and raced away to score under the posts after good lead-up work by the forwards. Benson again converted to make the score 33 v 7.
The Gaijin looked set to score again not long after their bungled kickoff when Benson made an excellent tackle and Toshinori Minamidate ripped the ball off the AJJ ball-carrier. Some quick recycling was followed by a good break by Takashi Tanikawa. As the defense reeled him in he threw the ball to Jeremy Burns but it was knocked on with nobody in front of him near the 22 metre line..The Gaijin kept the pressure on though, and captain Apisai Bati zigzagged his way through the opposition forwards to score under the posts. With Benson's conversion the halftime score would be 40 v 7.
At halftime the All JIn Jan club probably would have been happy to call off the match. While they had run the ball strongly and asked questions of the Gaijin defense they seemed to lack the support play and options that the Gaijin had. They also didn't value the ball as much and made numerous errors at critical stages. The Gaijin tackling was sloppy at times but when they tackled they made it count with numerous big hits, especially in the backs from Dan Benson and Jay Leroy.
As the Gaijin had a large squad in attendance and due to the relaxed rules of the shuto League - all available players can play as opposed to just 23 - the Gaijin made numerous changes at halftime. Locks Gorka Gerdiaga and Tetsu Kumagai replaced John Simpson and Joe Vanualailai. Joe Nawaqavanua replaced Jeremy Burns at flanker, Yoshihiro Sato came on for Jaimeson Musich at wing and John Tora replaced Tomo Setoguchi at prop.
The second half started like the first with play suggesting equality of the two teams, until big Joe Nawaquavanua broke through the defense and raced 70 metres to score under the posts. Fellow Fijian Mosese Rarasea converted and the score line read 47 v 7.
Rarasea made the next good run down the left flank and passed inside to the unmarked Gorka Gerediaga as the defense closed in. Gerediaga showed good pace to run 40 meters to score under the posts. Rarasea took a drop kick and missed the easy shot. Score: 52 v 7.
More replacements were made and Harry Bucknell, having just taken the field, ran 50 metres to score a nice solo try. Rarasea failed with the conversion. Score: 57 v 5.
A nice interplay down the left side between Toshinori Minamidate, Yoshihiro Sato and Hitoshi Chihara saw the ball end with Sato racing the last 15 meters to score. Harry Bucknell stepped up to take the conversion but missed to leave the score at 62 v 7.
A quick throw-in from the sidelines from Toshinori Minamidate went to Harry Bucknell then back to Minamidate and onto Hitoshi Chihara who beat two defenders to score. Bucknell again missed the conversion. Score: 67 v 7
The score line kept humming along when big Joe Nawaqavanua smashed through two tackles from a 5 metre scrum to score under the posts. John Tora missed the 'sitter' when he sliced his drop kick. Score: 72 v 7.
Bucknell was involved heavily in the next try for the Gaijin. Hitoshi Chihara made a nice run not long after the kickoff and gave a crash ball to Bucknell who went straight through the defense. He passed to Gorka Gerediaga on the inside and he ran the last 25 metres to score. That was his second for the night and just reward for good support play. Nik Pavesic stepped up as the next kicker in the kicking roundabout but failed to convert. Score: 77 v 0.
By this stage AJJ must have been eager to hear the sound of the final whistle but the Gaijin weren't quite done yet. A nice passing interplay down the left ended with Yoshihior Sato passing onto Nic Pavesic who got the ball off to Bucknell in heavy traffic and Bucknell sprinted on an angled run, after handing off his chaser, to score under the posts. He converted his own try to put the score out to 84 v 7.
The final try was scored down the right wing by Yuki Matsuyuru and missed by Nik Pavesic to make the final score line a whopping 89 v 7.
A\ll Jin Jan were one of the strongest teams in the Shuto League 5 or 6 years ago but they have fallen on heavy times if today's result is anything to go by. The Gaijin were just too big and strong and were too fast out wide.
It was hard to pick a Man of the Match as there were many good players for the Gaijin. The whole forward pack worked hard, and were especially dominant at the set piece with the AJJ scrum going backwards at every scrum. John Simpson had a strong game after many months out with injury and Joe Nawaqavanua was all power when he smashed into the defense, and pace when he found gaps.
The backs were far superior to their opponents with better pace and the eye for a hole. Dan Benson was very solid at inside centre in the first half, proving a good foil to the pace of Jay Leroy and backed by the flying Jaimeson Musich and Nathan Corrie on the wings - there was pace to burn. Benson finished with a 15 point haul after a try and 5 successful conversions from 6 attempts. Yoshihiro Sato had his best game yet for the club on the left wing in the second half and was involved in numerous forays down the left flank.Toshinori Minamidate, who started at standoff for the first time for the Gaijin and then switched to centre, was named Man of the Match for his all-round excellent play.
Jay Leroy was spotted having a beer at the meeting point at Inagi station before the game. Hair of thr dog! His eyes gave him away. He still had a buzz though and showed good handling and he still brought his jet-shoes. This indiscretionn earned him a share in the Goat of the Game award though. The other went to Sota Kaneko who went to the wrong field - Tatsumi Field, miles away in central Tokyo. He made it to the game sometime during the first half.
One pleasing thing for management was that all 30 players got on the field, including the four new boys.
Thanks to John Simpson for recording all second half points - it must have been tiring with all the tries scored.
RESULT : TGRFC 89 (Joe Nawaqavanua 2, Gorka Gerediaga 2, Harry Bucknell 2, Nathan Corrie 1, Dan Benson 1, Jospeh Vanualialia 1, Jay Leroy 1, Apisai Bati 1, Yoshihiro sato 1, Hitoshi Chihara 1, Yuki Matsuyuru 1 tries; D. Benson 5/6, M. Rarasea 1/3, H. Busknell 1/3, J. Tora 0/1, N. Pavesic 0/2 conversions) All JIn Jan 7 (1 try; 1/1 conversion)
Man of the match: Toshinori Minamidate
Goat(s) of the Match: Jay Leroy, Sota Kaneko
1. Tomohiro Setoguchi (Japan)
2. Liam Ramshaw (England)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. John Simpson (USA)
5. Joseph Vanualialia (Fiji)
6. Apisa Bati (C) (Fiji)
7. Jeremy Burns (USA)
8. Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
9. Eamonn Murphy (vc) (Ireland)
10. Toshinori Minamidate (Japan)
11. Nathan Corrie (Fiji)
12. Dan Benson (USA)
13. Jay Leroy (Canada)
14. Jaimeson Musich (USA)
15. Tatsuma Muto (Japan)
16. Nathan Rasquinet (Belgium), 17. Michael Van der Lans (Netherlands), 18. John Tora (Fiji), 19. Gorka Gerediaga (Basque) 20. Tetsu Kumagai (Japan), 21. Joffa Harris (Australia), 22, Joe Nawaqavanua (Fiji), 23.Boris Gombeer (France), 24. Sota Keneko (Japan), 25. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji), 26. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan), 27. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan), 28. Yuki Matsuyuru (Japan), 29. Harry Bucknell (England). (30) Nic Pavesic (Croatia)