The Tokyo Gaijin RFC have started their Autumn campaign with a tight win against Saitama Prefecture champions Kumagaya RFC. The match was organized as a 'friendly' to get rid of the rust from the summer break as the team leads into the Shuto League next week and as a way to get some game time for some newcomers to the team. Overall, there were 6 new players who suited up on the day - Alexander Auldy, Stanley Henry and Doug Picken from New Zealand, Rap Pagai from Samoa, Joshua Bateson from England and local Hiroshi Fukazawa.
To celebrate Tokyo Gaijin RFC's 25th anniversary year an Old Boys match was set up to be played at Tatsumi on July 17th. Always a treat to play on, Tatsumi is home training ground for the Japan National Team and the Sun Wolves so ground conditions were as usual, fantastic. To qualify for Old Boys rugby players must be 35 or over, though the Gaijin did manage to sneak in two 33 year olds. All France on the other hand were an open age team, ie. anyone from 18 years of age and up. With early summer heat and some Gaijin players getting close to 50, the match was played in three 20 minute thirds.
The opponent of the day was an old friend and foe over the years: the All France RFC. A lot of games have been played against All France over the past 20-something years and with them being an even more "social" rugby club than the very social Gaijin, the Gaijin have always been the winner, but once.
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.