The Shuto League has three teams which started out as teams made up of predominatly foreigners: the Tokyo Gaijin RFC & the Tokyo Crusaders in first division and All France in the second division. Today, the Gaijin were playing the Tokyo Crusaders for Top Dog amonst the foreign teams in the league. The scene for the second round Shuto League battle was to be Yanokuchi Field.
The first round of the Shuto League for 2013 had Tokyo Gaijin RFC up against Goddams RFC with both clubs keen to get their capaign off to a good start. It was also the start to the new scrum rules introduced into rugby recently.
The game did not get off to a good start with Goddams putting the kickoff out on the full and from the following scrum on halfway Gaijin standoff Sota Kaneko did the same with his kick. So the game wasn't even 1 minute old and both teams had made fundamental errors.
The Tokyo Gaijin always look forward to their annual trip to the mountains and green fields of Sugudaira. It's great to play on lush green grass for a change and to escape the heat and humidity of Tokyo. The management had had some trouble getting the required numbers but thankfully captain Richard O' Shea, Kinta Kaneda and Yuji Takaku were chauffeured up there by Yamagen and survived the journey, to give the team a full squad and a couple of reserves.
The 7's on the Saturday were nothing to write home about with the Gaijin side, packed with forwards and a few slow backs, winning only one of three games. In the 15's on the Sunday, the game we were all looking forward to, Murray Clarke was the star of the show, scoring a hatrick of tries (his first ever according to the man himself), to help the Gaijin to a stunning comeback win over Daen RFC.
In the interests of getting the quasi-Japanese National Rugby League team some more game time, the Tokyo Gaijin RFC agreed to a half Rugby Union half Rugby League game against the Tokyo 13 warriors at the immmaculate Tatsumi Field.
With many of the Gaijin having never played league it was at times comical and at others an eyesore as they struggled with the rules of Rugby League - and let's face it, the rules of League are quite simple......compared to Rugby Union.