Dateline: 13th November, 2016
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC always look forward to their annual (and sometimes biannual) domestic tour out to the mountains of Yamanashi. The air is fresh, the greenery is stunning and hosts Daen RFC always look after us. The field, Midai Minami Koen, is luscious and soft as opposed to some of the crap we play on in Tokyo. There is also the ride on the 'party bus' back home.
The guys all met at 8:00am out at Yanokuchi with only one guy not showing up and the majority on time. The trip out to Yamanashi was smooth and there were no traffic jams so we arrived in good time. Some guys enjoyed the view while others slept.
The Gaijin were slated to play the local Daen RFC first and then their neighbors Ashitaka RFC and then a mix of the two teams plus some young'uns from Tokai University and Kofu High. In all, it would be 3 x 30 minute halves and with only 3 reserves the Gaijin would be hoping that their fitness levels would be up to it and that the injury gods were kind.
Getting the whole team to come on tour is a virtual impossibility with work and family commitments and the whole question of costs. The Gaijin still managed to get a decent squad together with a bit o
V DAEN RFC 10 v 10 Draw
The game ended in a 10 v 10 draw as Daen grubbered through a kick on the 30 minute mark and won the race to the ball to even the scores on full time in the first 30 minutes. Thankfully they missed the kick. Halfback Takuya Ichizono scored both of the tries for the Gaijin while Yamagen failed with both conversions.
V ASHITAKA RFC 12 v 10 Loss
Goal kicking was the difference between the two teams as both scored two tries. Yamagen failed with both his conversions while the Ashitaka kicker got one of his. Takuya Ichizono scored the first try for the Gaijin and Mark Jenson, in his first game for the Gaijin and in fact his first game of rugby ever, got the second. He spun and twisted from a lineout and showed good strength to force his way over. The Ashitaka club found gaping holes out wide all game so to keep the score so close was testament to the good Gaijin cover defense and fightback when they had control of the ball.
V Mixed Team (Unsure of result - about 5 tries to 1 to the Mixed team)
By the last game the Gaijin were suffering from physical fatigue while their opponents were comparatively fresh. Once again it was out wide where the Gaijin suffered. Everytime the ball was shifted wide there seemed to be a break with most of the tries in this third "half" being scored out on the wings. The Gaijin managed one try with Takuya Ichizono being the man on the spot again. After a 40 metre break with various players involved the final ball-runner was tackled a metre from the tryline. Ichizono picked the ball up from the back of the ruck and dived over for his 4th try of the day.
After some quick showers it was time for some refreshments and to rehydrate with beers put on by Daen club out behind the grandstand. Mark Jenson 'shot the boot' - for his first try and the fact that it was his birthday this week. Joffa Harris was presented with a Daen club polo for Man of the Match for the Gaijin side but Takuya Ichizono was the hero for the day with 4 of the 5 Gaijin tries. Hitoshi Chihara was awarded the Man of the Match by the Gaijin though as many breaks came off his play close to the ruck and his defense in close was solid. Akira Yamagen got the Goat of the Game award for missing all his conversions and virtually all his tackles.
The trip back home was slow due to the usual traffic jams which made it uncomfortable for some of the beer drinkers with weak bladders and meant some running 'toilet' stops while in traffic. The party mood on the bus was in full throttle though with songs and games and general banter.
Thanks to Yoshihiro Sato & Tomohiro Setoguchi for their organizing of the event and also to Hiroshi Fukazawa for helping with numbers.
Man of the Match: Joffa Harris (decided by opposition) Hitoshi Chihara (decided by Gaijin)
1. Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan)
2. Tomohiro Setoguchi (C) (Japan)
3. Tsunaki 'Don' Tanaka (Japan)
4. Paul Bertier (France)
5. Mark Jensen (Denmark)
6. Nik Pavesic (Croatia)
7. Hiroshi Fukazawa (Japan)
8. Joffa Harris (Australia)
9. Takuya Ichizono (Japan)
10. Alexander Auldy (NZ)
11. Sandy Chung (England)
12. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan)
13. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)
14. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
15. Akira Yamagen (Japan)
Reserves: Thomas Abberton (Australia), Takashi Tanikawa (Japan), Yusuke Hashimoto (Japan)