After 4 close losses on the trot, the TGRFC gathered in Chiharadai on the 26th of November, 2006, hoping to stop their slide and finish the year with three straight victories. Playing their first Ichihara League game for the year the team sensed it was gettable as they had gone through the League undefeated last year but their opposition on this day, Chiba Barbarians, were one of the toughest in the league and the Gaijin were missing some experienced players. The Gaijin started with newcomer Arnaud Fouche in the second row and 2 complete newcomers to the sport in Ajen Birmingham and Erin Hughes on the bench. Joffa Harris was also starting his first game in 8 months after a broken right forearm kept him frustrated on the sidelines. Some were just hoping that he would let hs play do the talking and not his mouth.
The passionate rivalry that is evident at all meetings of the Y.C.A.C. and Tokyo Gaijin football teams was clear for all to view. Whether it be etched on the faces of veterans in the pre-game team talk, displayed in the witty banter back and forth between supporters, or displayed intensely on players faces as the game ebbs and flows. Everyone present knows that victory in this all important of games should come at all costs. At least that`s how it should have been....
The Tokyo Gaijin have had mixed performances in this years Shuto League, victory has been mixed with defeat and unfortunately many close defeats! Tentoumushi came into the match as the only undefeated team left in the Shuto League, meaning the Gaijin knew they were in for a tough match.
The day started well with a great turn out at Yanokuchi station, with our contingent of Air Force boys managing to bring out big Wade from duty in Iraq! Also making returns were Joffa Harris, finally putting his boots back on after being on the sidelines since early March. Also joining the team from today was the Scandinavian sensation Christian and Ajen Birmingham, joining the team after many years of persuasion by yours truly.
I`ll let you finish the ACDC song – perhaps replacing “rock & roll’’ with “ruck & maul’’ ..For all those that have climbed Mt Fuji, the TGRFC were hoping that the rugby team that gets their name from the world famous peak were not as difficult to get over the top of.
Things were not looking good though with a raft of experienced players out injured or out of the country. The forward pack was looking particularly green. Jesse Takahashi was given the job of leading the forwards but he`s a quiet man at the best of times.