The New Zealand Ambassadors Cup, sponsored by the New Zealand Embassy, is an annual playoff that pits the best players of the Shuto League teams against the best players of the Tama League teams. It is traditionally played at the well-catered Inagi Stadium (yes, we get hot showers & there is a grandstand). The Tama League is quite strong with many of their teams playing in 1st Division Tokyo Cup but the Shuto League has had the 'wood' on them over the past 3 or 4 years. The Old Boys team has won every game since that division's inception 5 years ago. The Shuto League B Team has traditionally struggled to overcome their rivals and the Shuto A Team has enjoyed victory over the past three years.
The Tokyo Gaijin have finished off their Shuto League season with a big 39 v 0 win over Dandelions RFC at Inagi Stadium. The win came after the team was bouyed through the week with the news that the Tokyo Crusaders had surprisingly beaten Olivers RFC 24 v 6 which left all three clubs a chance of winning the title this year. The Gaijin knew they had to win with a 4 try bonus point and even try for the 'no points' bonus point which is unique to the Shuto League. Their mission was accomplished in style.
The annual Tour to Yamanashi turned into a bi-annual tour this year with the Tokyo Gaijin RFC making their second trip up to Yamanashi. A squad of 19 players gathered at Yanokuchi at 8am for the 3 hour bus trip out to the green hills of Yamanashi. There were three halves (thirds?) of rugby waiting to be played with the Gaijin playing Daen RFC first up, then Ashitaka RFC and then a combination of the two, called the Mt Fujis. The first two halves would be split with a half between the Daen and Ashitaka Clubs.
On a day best suited for ducks the Tokyo Gaijin RFC were up against Shinjuku Jacks in the fourth round of the Tokyo Cup. With a typhoon approaching Japan, the heavens had opened and the rain was bucketing down. Tatsumi field, a delicious rectangle of green grass (yes, delicious, because we don't get much green grass, especially this close to the city centre) usually drains well but even it was struggling with the constant down-pour and had a sheet of water on its surface.
The opposition, Shinjuku Jacks, had been the big improvers in the Shuto League and had only been beaten by 3 points by Olivers RFC earlier in the league, whilst the Gaijin had been beaten by about 40 points by the same opposition. All players were expecting a tough game and the TGRFC squad was a little short on numbers, perhaps due to the conditions, making the mission even tougher.