The trip began with a fizzle as the Tokyo Gaijin sheep decided to go with mob mentality and all followed someone with no idea of where they were going in completely the wrong direction. After returning to the starting spot, finding the tour leader Al Nimmo and heading in the complete opposite direction we were greeted by a lovely yellow bus with small chandeliers for effect. All took their seats for the long journey ahead into the Alps and rugby paradise that is Sugadaira.
The Tokyo Gaijin Southern Hemisphere All Stars have won the Shuto League 10's competition, after winning a nail-biting final 5 v 0 against All Jin Jan with a 'Golden Try' in the second period of extra time. The try was scored by Aaron Nutsford in a see-sawing encounter at the Shin Urayasu Rugby Ground. Nutsford was immediately mobbed by his team-mates and the onlooking Northern Hemisphere All Stars.
The final match of the 2010 Tokyo Cup, presented the Tokyo Gaijin with a chance to return to the 1st division for next year's campaign. Pitted against Dasewa on an overcast late June day, we all knew that a much more cohesive team effort would be needed following our "mediocre" win over All France the previous week.
Sunday the 20th of June was judgment day for the Gaijin as they came up against an All France team that had clobbered them embarrassingly earlier in the season.
After the 25 minute trek from Toda Koen Station to the ground, we all could have been forgiven for wanting a bit of a breather, especially given the energy sapping humidity that hung in the air (the beach would certainly have been a more comfortable option). The ground was a mixed bag, underwater in some places due to recent heavy rain, sandy like la plage in certain areas, and hard and fast in others but overall, better than some of the pitches we have to deal with around Tokyo.