The Tokyo Gaijin RFC played their fourth round match of the 2012 Shuto League on an artificial turf pitch in Hodogaya, down Yokohama way. Their opposition was Dandelions RFC. Yes, that's right. Yet another strange name in that long list of strange names that is Japanese rugby. After their third round defeat to Olivers the TGRFC knew that they needed to win and win handsomely, if they wanted to have any chance of keeping their Shuto League title. In fact, a shutout and at least 4 tries were in order to gain two bonus points to make up the lost points from two weeks ago.
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC saw their hopes of a third straight Shuto League title in a row all but disappear when they went down to Olivers RFC 24 v 20 in a torrid and spiteful clash. With the scores locked at 14 v 14 at halftime the match disintegrated into a series of fights and dirty play as the referee lost all control. The Gaijin were on the end of a heavy penalty count against them and received two yellow cards to Takayuki Kitajima and Mosese Rarasea as the Olivers players seemed to be able to use dirty tactics with impunity. The referee had a poor game with many inconsistent rulings and explained away his shortcomings with 'I didn't see it' which made it very hard for the Gaijin to compete equally with their counterparts.
Your mission Ikuo Fukuda, if you choose to accept, is to get at least 30 players to go on a bus tour to Yamansahi Prefecture to play a double-header against two local clubs. Well Ikuo accepted but this part of the mission seemed an impossibilty with many team members seemingly busy with other things on this particular weekend. In fact the day started with miserable weather and heavy rain which caused 5 drop-outs on the morninig of the tour, something that must have given Ikuo grey hairs as that meant the team was now down to 16 players. What's more Natsu Kunitomo had just woken up and it was past departure time. At least he didn't let the team down and got on a train and got himself out to Yamanashi on time. So that part of the Ikuo's mission was not accomplished.
The 2nd round of the Shuto League saw Tokyo Gaijin RFC come up against All Jin Jan at the beautiful Tatsumi Field. All Jin Jan have traditionally been the toughest rivals for the title but have been runners up to the Gaijin over the past three years. The game was sure to be a tough battle and the Gaijin would have to overcome the absence of two of their best players from the week before in Sam Deroeck and Nik Pavesic. They did however have big Kiwi standoff Blake Walker back for his first game of 15's rugby for 18 months after complications from knee surgery.