PROMOTION TO FIRST DIVISION: Due to the surprise demotion of Superman Club from the 1st to the 4th Division (for fielding unregistered professional players), the Tokyo Gaijin have been promoted to take their place. As the runner-up finalist in the 2008 Second Division the Gaijin ran Rokko East Club hard in the promotion/relegation match until the final minute where Rokko East put the pressure on and pulled off a deserved try out wide. In 2009 the Gaijin will be looking to improve upon that performance on the backs of their senior players and an increasingly talented bench. And we know we can!
Sunday Feb 8th saw a friendly match between the Gaijin and the boys from the USS George Washington, who wanted to venture off base to get a taste of rugby local style. After finding a field and referee at the last minute, the Gaijin and Navy lads were set to do battle on the fields of Shibamata, the rugby then to be followed up with some serious grilling and beer consumption. With word out that the GW boys were being kind enough as to drag half a cow all the way from Yokosuka Naval Base early that morning for the post-match barbecue - the Tokyo Gaijin saw a record number of props show for the match, though were surprised when realising that prop forward Chris Lucas was conspicuously absent. Wind conditions were difficult and steadily worsening, setting up a blustery match and giving grave concern to all about the potential to barbecue.
(25th January, 2009) The Tokyo Gaijin RFC (TGRFC) turned up to Asahi Shinbun ground out in Misato hoping to turn the tables on Akanegahama after defeats in two previous ‘friendly’ games. It was a chance to give some less experienced players more game time but the Gaijin still wanted to win after the losing their first match of the new year. Many of the Gaijin squad opted to walk from the station rather than the usual taxi ride, which meant most players arrived at the field at the proposed kick-off. Thankfully this was a 'friendly' and the 'Hama boys were happy enough to delay the start for a quick Gaijin warm up.
After this less than ideal start, the Gaijin started cold and were quickly under pressure. Akanegahama had the early running and took a 7 v 0 lead after 10 minutes. The Gaijin were defending in their own half and two penalties in quick succession for ruck infringements allowed Akanegahama to gain good ground and go on the attack. Some poor defense allowed one of the Akanegahama centers to crash over the line 10 metres left of the post. As he did so he was hit in a tackle and the ball seemed to spill forward. A follow-up attacker picked the ball up and dived over the tryline and the referee had no hesitation in giving the try. The try was then converted by the standoff and the ‘Hama were away to a good start and seemingly carrying on where they left off last game. Score: 7 v 0 to Akanegahama.