Dateline: July 3rd, 2016
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC were hoping that one of their two squads would do the team proud and win the Shuto League 10's competition. The team has a good record at the event with the Southern Hemisphere team winning it three times (including a win over their Northern team mates in the final in 2014), and the Northern Hemisphere team making the final last year.
The Shuto League has allowed the Gaijin to enter two teams into the competition for a number of years now due to their strong roster. The Northern team was made up of local Japanese and foreigners coming from the northern hemisphere - with representatives from England, USA, Spain, France, and Croatia this year and the Southern team was made up of foreigners from the Southern hemisphere - with representatives from Fiji, Australian and a lone Kiwi this year. As they have a far smaller pool to select from the South usually gets a few Japanese players as well (if the North don't complain too much). With the recent spate of injuries in the backs both teams were very forward heavy, not ideal in 10's.
In the qualifying rounds, the Northern team had some tough games and finished with a 1 win - 1 lose - 3 draws, but they got lucky and slipped into 3rd place in the qualification group. In contrast, the Southen team had a solid result with 4 wins - 1 lose - 0 draws and there was no doubt they would reach the finals. Interestingly, by this qualification result, the Southern team had to play one additional game in the finals rounds.
The Final tournament kicked off at 2:30pm by TGRFC North against NoSide Cub as an ice-breaker, and North won by 5-0. Right after the North's win, the South played against Koryo, which drew with the North in the qualifying round, The South won by 10-5 and moved on to next game against Nerima club at 3:15pm, and again won by 5-0. This win ensured that the North and the South would meet in the Semi-final, which would also make certain that one of them would be in the final.
The semi-final match between TGRFC North and South kicked off at 3:30pm. That was tough for the South as they could have just one game length (7~8 minutes) break from their previous game, The North held all the possession after the South squandered the match kickoff and were immediately under pressure. After the North scored their first try the South again botched the kickoff allowing a prop (Tomohiro Setoguchi) to take it on the full both and they were immediately under the pump again. Then the strong North scrum made up of 5 guys that could all play front row if they wanted to, absolutely blitzed the South scrum and weight of possession saw them score another try and win the match 10 - 0. It was a very one-sided match with the South never getting into the North's half. Moral: If you make too many mistakes then 7 minutes is not enough time to make a come-back.
The North spent a lot of the morning complaining about a lack of backs but when they decided what the best way for them to play was, they were a strong unit and played much better as a team than the South.
The South had too many talented individuals that didn't gel as a team. They also had a few too many old guys, with 5 guys over 40 and a few getting close.
The final match of the day saw TGRFC North play against Komaba WMM at 4:10pm, with two halves (7 min + 7 min - other games were all single 7 min. games) Komaba WMM utlized their speedy backs and superior fitness and teamwork to win the final 15 v 0.
But overall, the Shuto 10s in 2016 were a successfull event for the TGRFC with both teams getting into the finals, and into the last four from 24 teams. The North vs South match in the semi-finals was a highlight with the North gaining bragging rights for the next 12 months, and the North got second place in the tournament. Komaba WMM, and invitational team, are a fit unit and have won the past three Shuto 10's tournnaments and it will take something special next year to take the title off them.
NORTH Results:Qualify#1: v Dande Lions 5 - 5 drew
- Qualify#2: v Gentle Giants 5 - 5 drew
- Qualify#3: v Komaba WMM 0- 5 lost
- Qualify#4: v Moccos 10 - 5 win
- Qualify#5: v Koryo 5 - 5 drew
- Tournament#1: v NoSide club 5 - 0 win
- Tournament#2: v Tokyo Gaijin South 10 - 0 win
- Tournament#3: v Komaba WMM 0 - 15 lost
TGRFC Northern Team:
- Tomo Setoguchi (cap) (Japan)
- Jeremy Burns (USA)
- Erin Hughes (USA)
- John Simpson (USA)
- Gorka Gerediaga (Basque)
- Paul Bertier (France)
- Liam Ramshaw (England)
- Tsunaki "Donny" Tanaka (Japan)
- Sota Kaneko (Japan)
- Tommy Nasuno (Japan)
- Nik Pavesic (Croatia)
- Yusuke Hashimoto (Japan)
- Yoshihiro Sato (japan)
- Andrew Thomas Brown (GB)
- Taku Tokuriki (Japan)
- Hiroki Nagamatsu (Japan)
- Daiki Hayakawa (Japan)
- Qualify#1: v Nerima Club 10 - 5 win (D. Ikegami, J. Vanualialia tries)
- Qualify#2: v Aoyama Club 10 - 0 win (K.Takamori, T. Minamidate tries)
- Qualify#3: v Crusaders 0 - 5 Loss
- Qualify#4: v Baku & Clover 20 - 0 win (T. Minamidate, Ryosuke Suehisa, B. Lobendahn, J, Harris tries)
- Qualify#5: v Doronco 5 - 0 win (B. Lobendahn try)
- Tournament#1: v Koryo 10 - 5 win (Y. Iyadomi, A. Bati tries)
- Tournament#2: v Nerima 5 - 0 win (T. Kumagai try)
- Tournament#3: v Tokyo Gaijin North 0 - 10
TGRFC Southern Team:
- Apisai Bati (c) (Fiji)
- Joseph Vanualailai (Fiji)
- Mosese Nasegesege (Fiji)
- Baryy Lobendahn (Fiji)
- Joffa Harris (Australia)
- Touch Roy (Australia)
- Thomas Abberton (Australia)
- Murray Clarke (NZ)
- Daisuke Ikeda (Japan)
- Kenta Karino (Japan)
- Tetsu Kumagai (Japan)
- Kazu Takamori (Japan)
- Toshinori Minamidate (Japan)
- Ryosuke Suehisa (Japan)
- Ken (Japan)
- Yuta Ohba (Japan)
- Junpei Shirakawa (japan)
- Yoshihiro Iyadomi (Japan)