A friendly match was arranged during the off-season between the Japanese National Rugby League team and the Tokyo Gaijin RFC. This match served the purposes of ensuring that at least a modicum of fitness was carried into the autumn, introducing some new players to the team and having some fun with rugby league.
The TGRFC Northern Hemisphere squad arrived fit and ready for work in the stifling heat of the day. Numbers gradually increased over the course of the day, but the core playmakers and gameplan stayed roughly consistent for the day. The NH were placed in a different pool for the first stage of the tournament.
* Charles Joffre scored a hatrick in his farewell game for the Gaijin against his countrymen, All France, on the 19th June. The 'Friendly' game was played out at Yanokuchi Field. The All France team turned up with a miserable 6 players (hence the decision not to write a full article about the game). Luckily the Gaijin had plenty in reserve and were able to lend them enough to get a game going. Joffre also converted one of his tries to give him a 17 point haul for the game. Andy Ballard captained the team well and led from the front and Semi Leiene was a standout at fullback. Newcomer, Spanish prop Ismael, scored two tries on debut, Bati Apisai got one and Alex Glover also got a try to cap a purple patch of tries over the last couple of months for the young Englishman. The final score was 40-odd to 7 with Gaijin back Tristan O'Connor scoring for the All France side.
The annually contested Oakwood cup between the Seoul Survivors and the Tokyo Gaijin was this year hosted on Japanese soil. A larger group from Korea made the trip than the Gaijin group who made the inaugural trip last season. This permitted a full 80 minutes of 15-a-side rugby on the excellent Tatsumi soil, and the match did not dissapoint the build-up.