The first game of the shortened Tokyo Cup 2011 version kicked off at Misato Sports Field for the Gaijin on the 3rd of May, a Public Holiday Tuesday. The unusual choice of days had been forced on the organizers in the aftermath of the Great North-east Japan earthquake. The Gaijin team were struggling for numbers due to a string of injuries and the Golden Week holiday period taking its toll on playing numbers. To make matters worse they were up against the biggest forward pack in the competition and a monster front row and were already missing three of their regular props.
The Tokyo Gaijin continued to warm up for the upcoming Tokyo Cup season with a trial game against fellow Division One team Musashino Ruggers. In the last encounter between the two teams, Musashino Ruggers had come out winners, a game in which the Gaijin captain at the time, Murray Clarke, was sent off, lesssening their chances of victory. Former Gaijin player, Shaunne Hughes, on business from Australia, was having a guest appearance for his old club and Gen Mishima was having his first game for the Gaijin.
The Manila 10s tournament held at the Nomad’s rugby club has become a regular event, and this year was no different. The mails were sent out well in advance, and an eager posse of dedicated rugby players put their names down as keen tourists. As with most years however, realities of finance and time and loving families forced numbers to dwindle. This year saw a cruel twist as the Tohoku Earthquake on the 11th of March and its subsequent tsunami and nuclear concerns meant that not just the TGRFC but the whole of Japan had other things on their minds.
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC were keen to test themselves against Tokyo Cup Division 1 opposition, in preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Cup, and NSC Ruggers were just the type of team to fill the bill. The Yanokuchi Field, was seriously lacking water, despite being a hop, skip and jump away from the Tamagawa river. In fact it is in the worst condition it has been in for 10 years. (Apparently a lack of powerful typhoons, which usually cause the river to break its sides, led to no seeding of grass last year).