The Tokyo Gaijin RFC assembled at Omiya Rugby ground for a 'Friendly' match against All France with two targets in mind...keep the winning run going and get as many new guys and less experienced guys game time as possible as they are probably not going to get it against Mandara in two weeks. Phillip Ferreira and Sean Hannon were having their first game for the Tokyo Gaijin RFC and in Sean's case, his first game of rugby ever.
The All France team had provided solid opposition to the Gaijin 'B' in the two 'Friendlies' they had played in 2011 drawing one and getting beaten in the other. On this particular day though, they just didn't show up to play and the Gaijin ended up smashing them to the tune of 99 v 0. Along the way the TGRFC Top try-scoring record was equalized and John Herger, John Simpson, Roy Tachi and Eric Jue scored their first tries for the Gaijin...well it was Eric's first try ever in rugby. Deroeck equaled Joe Nawaqavanua's record of 5 tries in a game. In total the Gaijin went over the weakly defended All France tryline to score 17 tries. With new team vice-captain Shinichiro Nakayama starting from the bench to give others ample game time, Nik Pavesic was wearing the Captain's armband for the first time in the absence of regular captain Alistair Nimmo.
The game did not start too well for the Gaijin when they fluffed the kickoff with Natsu Kunitomo having a weak attempt at the ball and letting it go over his head and with one bounce into touch. David Middleditch was the first to find big holes in the All France defense when he dummied through a yawning gap and made good ground but his pass to his winger was intercepted. But then Sam Deroeck made a very impressive run when he rounded the French backline but was caught by the cover defense. Soon after this run the Gaijin juggernaut kicked into overdrive and there was no looking back.
Try 1 - Immediately after Sam's big run, the ball was quickly recycled and Nik Pavesic hit the French defensive line and offloaded a short ball to prop John Herger who smashed through a weak tackle and raced over the line and around under the posts. Converted by Dave Middleditch. Score: 7 v 0
Try 2 - A big overlap to the left saw David Middleditch draw the defense, dummy and go over the line untouched. Sam Deroeck converted. Score: 14 v 0.
Try 3 - No.8 Dan Worden came off the back of the scrum. The ball was shuffled across the field but went to ground. Sam Deroeck picked up the loose ball and falls over the line. Unconverted by Deroeck. Score: 19 v 0.
Try 4 - A nice kick from Middleditch to the corner forces All France to scramble and boot the ball into touch. From the lineout Mosese Rarasea goes through 5 tacklers but is eventually brought down. The French are penalised for not rolling away and Rarasea takes a quick tap and plunges over the line in the tackle. Dereock misses the conversion. Score: 24 v 0.
Try 5 - A nice run by Takeshi Ochiai up the sideline leads to good support play from the rest of the forwards and Sam Dereock ends the movement by racing over the tryline. Middleditch misses the conversion. Score: 29 v 0.
Try 6 - After Deroeck makes a trysaving tackle despite being outnumbered two to one in the Gaijin 22 metre area he 's in the action again soon after up the other end when he runs the ball from their 22 and splits the defense between the scrum and the flyhalf, dummies, and then goes across the line for his 3rd try of the day. Rarasea converts. Score: 36 v 0.
Try 7 - Dereock is in the action again soon after when he shrugs off an All France defender on his own tryline and runs the ball out then kicks it from his own 22 metre area to the oppositions' side of halfway. From the lineout the Gaijin win the ball and Roy Touchee crashes over in the corner after nice interplay between Phillip Ferreira and himself. Ryogo Takemura misses the conversion. Score: 41 v 0.
HALFTIME - At 41 v 0 at halftime the Gaijin had completely dominated the first half. Their scrum was powerful and often pushed the All France side off their own ball. The Gaijin forwards were impressive in their support play and general rucking. Nik Pavesic made numerous big runs cutting the defense to shreds. John Herger was a tank running the ball outside the flyhalf one off the ruck, and Dan Worden, John Simpson and Takeshi Ochiai were getting through a power of work at the breakdowns and in general support play. Dave Middleditch was marshalling the backline well at standoff and Sam Deroeck was causing the defence headaches every time he touched the ball. Seven changes wer made at halftime including the whole front row.
Try 8 - Joffa Harris falls on the ball at the back of a dominant scrum for a pushover try. Takemura fails to convert. Score: 46 v 0.
Try 9 - Nik Pavesic makes a big run upfield and passes off to Toshi Miyano in support and then onto Dan Worden in support. Worden races over line and around under the posts. Yamagen converts. Score: 53 v 0.
Try 10 - John Simpson wins an opposition lineout about 15 metres out and finds no-one in front of him and manages to scramble to the line before the defense can catch him. Yamagen misses conversion. Score: 58 v 0.
Try 11 - A big run by Ikuo Fukuda, ball passed to Joffa Harris, who passes it out to Sam Deroeck looming up in support. Dereoeck does the rest by racing 60 metres to score under the posts, copping a shoulder charge on the way (a weak attempt to tackle by a frustrated Frenchman). Yamagen converts. Score: 65 v 0.
Try 12 - Nik Pavesic charges up a penalty from a lineout and makes it look all too easy as he crashes over the line. Yamagen fails with the conversion. Score: 70 v 0.
Try 13 - Sam Deroeck races away for another try - his 6th! Yamagen does not convert it. 75 v 0.
Try 14 - Gaijin win ball from a back-peddaling French scrum as ball pops out the side and Joffa Harris picks it up. A touch of class from Harris as he draws two defenders and gives an inside no look pass to Apisai Bati who races 25 metres to score down the left flank. Yamagen fails to convert. Score: 80 v 0
Try 15: The desperate French team try a drop goal while on the Gaijin 22 metre line. The kick is a shocker and rebounds off a Gaijin player into All France hands. Shinichiro Nakayama steals the ball from the ensuing ruck and Daniel Worden gets another move going as he races upfield. As the cover catches him the ball is then passed back inside to Eric Jue who dives over the tryline to score his first ever try in rugby. He showed a lot of pace for a prop (Editor's note: he hasn't really found his position yet and probably has the pace to play wing) and it was just rewards for fantastic support play. Yamagen converts. Score: 87 v 0.
Try 16 - Nik Pavesic puts through a little grubber kick and Sam Deroeck dive son the ball to score. Yamagen converts. Score: 94 v 0.
Try 17 - Mosese Rarasea scores under the posts as the tiring (and completely uninterested by this stage) French allow the Gaijin to throw the ball around and find gaps at will. Yamagen amazingly misses the conversion from in front. Score: 99 v 0.
And so ended the game for a sorry-looking All France team. They had failed to score a single point. Their flyhalf was guilty of kicking the ball away too much as they dearly needed to hold onto the ball more as the TGRFC dominated possession. In the end, the kicking was probably a result of the frustration that came from not being able to break the Tokyo Gaijin line. There were only two times that they looked even close to scoring. Sam Deroeck had closed down the first when they had a definite overlap and Gaz Dalrymple had chased down a breakaway down the left flank. That was all they could muster.
The Gaijin had played well though they were quite loose. There was a lot of individual talent on display but they failed to work as a team, due in most part to the terrible French defence. They may pay for this in their upcoming Champion's League game against Mandara, who will be well drilled and a very tight, formidable outfit. But at the end of the day, you can only play what's in front of you, and the Gaijin were able to give some of the newer guys valuable game time and the confidence that comes with a big win.
The Man of the Match Award was a difficult choice as a lot of players had shone in the game but it was hard to go past Sam Dereock and Nik Pavesic, with Dereock ending up with the honours. Sam had scored 5 tries, saved one, tackled well and had barely put a foot wrong. Nik, however, had dropped a pass cold from a quick tap on the Gaijin's own 22 metre line which had them under the pump for a little bit, and had also dropped the ball over the line, as he was tackled, in some sloppy, over-confident play. This saw a complete swing in the voting and he was adjudged Goat of the Match. This Award was also bestowed on Yamagen later when the team realised on countback (there was confusion as to the proper score at the end of the game with the two scorers having a 2 point difference) that Yamagen's failed conversion from in front of the posts at the very end of the game would have broken the 100 point margin.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Sam Deroeck
GOAT(s) OF THE MATCH: Nik Pavesic, Yamagen
Score: TGRFC 99 (Sam Deroeck 5, Nik Pavesic 2, Mosese Rarasea 2, John Herger 1, Dave Middleditch 1, Roy Tachi 1, Joffa Harris 1, Dan Worden 1, John Simpson 1, Apisai Bati 1, Eric Jue 1 tries; D. Middleditch 1/2, S. Deroeck 1/3, R. Takemura 0/2, M. Rarasea 1/1, Yamagen 4/9 conversions)
1. John Herger (USA)
2. Gaz Dalrymple (Scotland)
3. Natsu Kunitomo (Japan)
4. Nik Pavesic (Croatia)
5. John Simpson (USA)
6. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
7. Takeshi Ochiai (Japan)
8. Dan Worden (NZ)
9. Ryogo Takemura (Japan)
10. David Middleditch (England)
11. Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)
12. Roy Tachi (Australia)
13. Phillip Ferreira (South Africa)
14. Bryan O'Brien (USA)
15. Sam Deroeck (England)
Reserves used: Shinichiro Nakayama (Japan), Taniguchi (Japan), Eric Jue (USA), Apisai Bati (Fiji), Joffa Harris (Australia), Toshi Miyano (Japan), Yamagen (Japan), David Chan (Australia), Jo Iwasaki (Japan), Ikuo Fukuda (Japan), Sean Hannon (USA)