Thanks to Toru Kanemori for organizing the tickets to watch the New Zealand Universities squad face up to Japan's top school (and Toru's Alma Mater), Keio University, at a beautiful facility in Hiyoshi.
Global warming or not, it must be noted that the 2009 Tokyo Cup is probably the hottest I have ever personally played in. Hot dry days every weekend - it is great! Unless you are a 100kg Gaijin forward going into the final quarter of an 80 minute rugby match. The heat had shown up the Gaijin fitness or lack thereof over the first few rounds where we competed bravely but were ultimately put away by a faster and more committed opposition over the final 20-30 minutes.
The successful 2008 Tokyo Cup campaign started with a shock loss to Fuji Club but was followed by a couple of resounding wins from which the team was able to sneak into the Semi's and ultimately promotion into the First Division. It was hoped by all that the 2009 campaign's miserable start (loss to Musashino) was just a blip on the radar, with better things to come in the second match of the tournament against Kurumi RFC. And that is pretty much what transpired on a hot sunny day in Misato, Saitama. Well, sort of.