Before the recent test between Australia and France, Australian coach Eddie Jones was quoted as saying ?There`s the French team that turns up, and there`s the one that doesn`t.? Tokyo Gaijin turned up for their game against the All French at Asahi Shinbun Ground in Misato wondering which team they were going to play against.
With a skeleton of the run-on squad that had played in the Tokyo Cup Final three weeks before due to injury and work/family commitments some were wondering that if the All French were ever going to beat TGRFC then today was a huge opportunity for them. Tokyo Gaijin were lucky to have the presence of 4 new guys ? Patrick Boyden, who announced that he hadn`t played rugby (in the centres) for 13 years and was promptly banished to Lock; Sam Lander, a young Kiwi who works for the circus and had amazed some and made others cringe when he leapt in the air and landed in the splits position during the warm-up; Yuichi, who has actually played for The Gaijin before and the East Japan Bulldogs RL team but is committed to his University team recently and Yuichi`s 19 year old University buddy Taka who played hooker.
It didn`t take long for the Tokyo Gaijin to remove any doubt that their outstanding record against the All France was in jeopardy with outside centre Jo Iwasaki strolling over the line in a 3 on 1 overlap after some good lead-up work from the forwards. This got the TGRFC juggernaut rolling.
Tries to Blair Parkin and Dave Kelver followed as the tackle-shy French allowed the Gaijin forwards to make easy ground up the middle and the backs to carve them up out wide. The French were next to get on the scoreboard though when Joffa Harris didn`t hear the the double number line-out call for the back of the line-out and the ball went sailing over his head and was quickly pounced on by an All France centre who went through our backline, rounded Arno van Bossche, ?our? French Fullback, and scored in the corner. That was to be the last time the All France were to trouble the scorers. Mauro finished off the first half scoring with a try where he started 5 metres out from the opposition try line and ran parallel to it, from one side of the post to the other in a 15 metre cross-field run, looking for the smallest guys to crash into. Some thought he was going home.
So the Gaijin went into the break leading 28 v 5 after Ian ?Shadow?
converted all his shots at goal and put the injured Richard Beard on notice. New guy Sam had lasted about 15 minutes before he ran out of puff, though he did come back on later. I guess flexibility and strength are more important in the Circus than stamina. Patrick followed soon after but after all those years who could blame him. He had shown a lot of promise with some quite effective tackles. Heats Devlin replaced Patrick in the lock position partnering Joffa Harris ? an all Aussie second row. He had arrived 15 minutes after kickoff as he thought the kick-off time was the meeting time.
The second half was more of the same with Dave Kelver and Blair Parkin crossing again to give them well deserved doubles. Steve Bull also crossed after providing some light entertainment for Blair and Shadow earlier on as he spilled a ball with the tryline begging ? and it would have been under the black dot. The next try went to Joffa Harris who took a quick tap, angled his run, threw a dummy and strolled over untouched. Takeshi Takada finished off the scoring with a try in the corner to give The Gaijin a final winning margin of 61 v 5.
Ian ?Shadow? Roy had excelled in the kicking role all day and finished with a commendable eight out of nine successful shots at goal which had some wondering why he hadn`t been taking all the shots at goal for the last 6 months.
Dave Kelver led the forwards from the front all day and young Taka had an excellent game with some foraging runs up the field as did his buddy Yuichi who had a strong game at Number 8. Jesse Takahashi and Mauro Sauco did well in the front row and had no problem holding the French scrum despite rarely playing there. Mauro also filled in admirably as Captain in the absence of regular Captain Blake Walker and now has a fine record of one win from one game as captain to brag about. Blair and Shadow were very impressive in the backline and had the French in tatters with their elusive running, and Arno van Bossche had an excellent game at the back against his French brethren.
If anyone sees Jonesy, tell him we played the French side that didn`t show up!
A special thanks to our Medic, Shino Iwasaki, who was seen climbing over the hill/levee bank to get water from the hospital to keep the boys hydrated on a hot and humid day.
Steve Bull , Joffa Harris , Takeshi Takada tries, Ian Roy 8 from 9 goals)
Men of the match: Dave Kelver (Forwards)
1. Mauro Sauco (
2. Taka (
3. Jesse Takahashi (
4. Joffa Harris (
5. Patrick Boyden (
6. Sam Lander (NZ)
7. Dave Kelver (
8. Yuichi (
9. Takashi Mutou (
10.Ian Roy (
11.Ryoichi Matsumura (
12.Blair Parkin (NZ)
13.Jo Iwasaki (
14.Steve Bull (
15. Arno van Bossche (
16. Takeshi Takada (
17. Heats Devlin (