TGRFC 14 v Chiba Barbarians 12
27 November, 2005
The Tokyo Gaijin assembled out at Chiharadai for their 12:30 kickoff against the Chiba Barbarians looking a little short of game breakers. This was because they were missing quite a few regulars due to injuries, training for the Shuto Rep Squad, and work commitments. What was even worse was when everybody noticed who the ref was.
It was a short blind (?) guy who had tried to referee us last year and had people wondering if he hadn`t mixed up his fields and should have actually been up the road refereeing a soccer match. In place of our regulars we had a few guys that had been out for a while. Richard Beard was back after a 6 month hiatus, Lewis Marama was pulling on the Gaijin jersey for the first time this year and Arno Van den Bossche was returning from a month out with injury. We also had a new player in Frenchman Arnaud Carrez and Dave Kelver hobbling along with an ankle injury that needed rest.
With regular Captain Blake Walker and Vice Captain Takeshi Takada out injured Rob Reinebach stepped up to take on the task.
Things didn`t start too well with New boy Carrez`s combination with regular inside centre Niall Conlon looking shaky and obviously needing more work. The first try to the Barbarians came from within the Gaijin`s own 22 and came from a Gaijin mistake. Carrez`s inside pass from behind the scrum found no-one. The bungled pass went to ground and a Barbarian player pounced on it, should have said ?Thankyou very much?, and strode under the post for the easiest of tries. The conversion put the Gaijin behind 7v 0.
Despite the scrum being quite solid the backs were not getting over the advantage line though one suspects that the Barbarian backs were well offside but the ?blind? guy with the whistle never thought so. Reinebach resorted to coming off the back of the scrum at No.8 to get the TGRFC going forward however we failed to back it up with good phase play and invariably it would break down behind the gain line with the timing between the halfback, standoff and inside centre creating problems.
There was a comical moment amid the growing frustration with the referee. Reinebach played through a ruck after the whistle which he obviously did not hear. This upset the Barbarians` halfback who stood over Reinebach on the ground with his fist drawn. He was probably lucky he didn`t release the trigger as it would have been a David and Goliath affair and he probably would have been knocked into next week..
Possession and field position eventually worked against the Gaijin and the Barbarians swept across the line to score to the left of the posts. A terrible kick left the score at 12 v 0 with the Gaijin needing to do a mountain of work to get back into the game. Despite a few good rolling mauls and a powerful 30 metre run by Jesse Takahashi, it had been a sorry half for the Gaijin who had struggled to get out of their own half of play. The only positives were the good defense in the centres and out wide and good cover from the loose forwards to keep the Barbarians to only 2 tries.
The second half started just as badly but with Richard Beard moving to standoff his guile and wisdom added more common sense play to the back-line and things started to click. Reinebach starting to make even more yards up the middle as things started to get a little testy in the rucks and the referee struggled to keep things under control.
One could sense that the Gaijin were starting to get control but then a mistake would invariably be made and they would be punished. A try finally did come though. Captain Reinebach, who was getting through a mountain of work, made another strong run up field palming off would-be defenders. He managed to slip the ball to Joffa Harris in support. Harris tried to fend off the fullback but was bought down but managed to slip a nice ball on the way down to a flying So Nagashima who was screaming for the ball. Nagashima wasn`t to be stopped from that range and finally got the Gaijin on the board to collective sighs of relief. Richard Beard converted to make the score 12 v 7.
Not long after this Beard came out of the bottom of a ruck claiming that he`d been bitten by the half-back (the same guy that had stood over Reinebach earlier) and as all could see, there were bite-marks on his arm. The referee once again failed to do anything about it and one could sense that the lid would come off this boiling pot soon. The incident really fired the Gaijin up with guys throwing themselves into the rucks and making some big hits but time was running out and the referee seemed to be happy with result going against the Gaijin. Some guys had different ideas!!
After a strong run by Fullback Jonathon Dean up the left flank the ball was recycled to Reinebach who charged at the line. No-one was going to stop the big fella and he certainly wasn`t going to go down without a shot being fired on his watch as Captain. This bought the score to 12 v 12 and when Beard again converted with his trusty right boot (Shadow take note! 2 out of 2!) their were scenes of euphoria. The Gaijin had got out of jail 14 v 12. (Joe Fisher, our ex-captain would have loved that as he always said we win the close ones). It was a well-below par performance from the Gaijin but it was nice to win a tight one and it was nice to win with so many regulars missing.
Standouts for the Gaijin were Captain Rob Reinebach who led by example all day and Richard Beard who showed that a break from the game had done him no disservice. Jesse Takahashi had his best game for the club, Niall Conlon was solid in defense, Alistair Nimmo never stopped and Gordon Downes made some good runs up the middle. Arnaud Carrez showed enough promise with a few half-breaks to be persevered with at stand-off if he can get some quality practise in with his inside and outside men.
Men of the Match : Rob Reinebach & Richard Beard
Goat of the Match : Jonathon Dean (for being late again) & the Ref (for being useless)
1. Mark Pearson (USA)
2. Steve Bull (England)
3. Takayuki Kitajima (Japan)
4. Jesse Takahashi (USA)
5. Chris Lucas (Australia)
6. Joffa Harris (Australia)
7. Lewis Marama (NZ)
8. Rob Reinebach (USA)
9. Alistair Nimmo (England)
10. Arnaud Carrez (France)
11. Gordon Downes (South Africa)
12. Niall Conlon (England)
13. Richard Beard (England)
14. Arno Van den Bossche (France)
15. Jonathon Dean (Canada)
16. So Nagashima (Japan)
17. Dana Post (USA)
18. Dave Kelver (USA)