Ideal spring conditions set the backdrop for the annual friendly fixture between Chiba Barbarians RFC and Tokyo Gaijin RFC on March 13th when the two teams met at Kanamachi’s Niijuku Mirai Park. Unfortunately despite our strong start to the game the Gaijin ascendency was all to brief – and therefore so is this match report!
As referee Mr. Taniguchi got the game underway the opening minutes saw the Gaijin set up camp in the Barbarians 22, allowing flanker Jeremy Burns to smash over for five points and an early lead on the 8 minute mark. Celebrations were short-lived however when the Barbarians leveled at 12 minutes. With a controlling interest in the match still anybody’s, hooker and captain Tomohiro Setoguchi juggled frantically and successfully with an off-load by Joffa Harris to score a fine try keeping the Gaijin well in touch at half-time – if slightly behind at 19 – 10.
At the break there was no real panic in the Gaijin camp and Takashi Tanikawa began the second half by scoring a try from the scrum base to take his team within four points of the lead. From then on however it was all the Barbarians, and they racked up a fine tally of 52 points to the Gaijin’s lacklustre 15. What happened? Possibly the Gaijin should have kept things tight and picked away at the Barbarians through forward pressure before going wide. But in the final analysis there are days when you have to admit to being below your best, and coming up against a strong side with confidence to spare. As the game went on the Barbarians would win more lose ball and reorganize time and again to cut holes through the Gaijin defence. There was no finger pointing amongst the Gaijin, but a healthy respect for the Chiba Barbarians who gave a fine exhibition of handling skills and efficiency – demonstrating why they’re a top amateur team in their own prefecture.
Score: TGRFC 15 - Chiba Barbarians 52
TGRFC Tries: Jeremy Burns 1, Tomohiro Setoguchi 1, Takashi Tanikawa 1. No conversions.
Chiba Barbarians Tries: 8. Conversions: 6
Man of the match: Congratulations to opposition’s man of the match Sovita Tui for his impressive carrying and uncompromising defence.
Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
Tomohiro Setoguchi (c) Japan
Tsunaki ‘Don’ Tanaka (Japan)
Dan Barnett (England)
Paul Bertier (France)
Jeremy Burns (United States)
Joffa Harris (Australia)
Takashi Tanikawa (Japan)
Ryo Takahashi (Japan)
Sota Kaneko (Japan)
Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
Sovita Tui (Fiji)
Taku Eguchi (South Africa)
Dan Benson (United States)
Toshinori Minamidate (vc) (Japan)
Bench: All of the following players received game time:
Taku Eguchi (South Africa), Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan), Masaaki Kakishita (Japan), Alex Moule (England), Nathan Corrie (Fiji), Akira Yamagen (Japan)