The Tokyo Gaijin continued their winning ways with a comprehensive 34 v 7 defeat of Idemitsu Oil RFC in an Ichihara League game.
With a training day arranged for the Shuto LeagAue Select team for the NZ Ambassadors Cup the Gaijin turned up to the beautifully manicured and green (rare in Tokyo!) Chiharadai Field way out in woop-woop Chiba missing 10 regular players (Justin ‘scoobie’Mynah, Rob Poulton, Kevin Rebay, Paulo de Berriozabal, Alaister Nimmo, Saki Naita, Joe Nawaqavanua, Apisai Bati, Amir Yassari, & Andy Ballard). The TGRFC Club still managed to get a decent squad together and it was a chance to give some of the ‘greener’ players a chance to shine. The team was welcoming back Dan Salter & Riki Pitter after long absences due to injury & sickness. Pitter was to join Hitoshi Chihara in an untried centre combination. Mauro Sauco was also returning to the Gaijin fold after 6 months working in China and making the odd guest appearance for the Beijing Devils RFC until injury reared its ugly head and forced him to take a 5 month rest from the game.
Small leagues of highly competitive teams are often decided when the best two meet. The Gentle Giants RFC prepared well for the '08 Shuto League competition. We observed them attracting large squads to training and playing their previous encounters with discipline and determination. But...On Sunday the 8th of November, the Gentle Giants RFC faced a full and fearsome Tokyo Gaijin regiment.
As if an almost full complement of troops was not enough, talented new faces also bolstered the lines, with Hiroyuki Ikeuchi and Amir Yassari making debuts (well done Amir for making it to the correct ground this time...). Occasional visitor Alexis Ottenwaelter was also in attendance, fortunately once again in Tokyo on business. Making a first outing since Sugadaira was Alastair 'face first' Nimmo, whose cheek, fractured on tour, was judged adequately repaired from reconstructive surgery.The battlefield was the premium Inagi stadium, best ground on the Shuto circuit and the pitch on which the representative 'New Zealand Ambassador's Cup' match is played in mid December. The ground was wide, flat, hard, and well protected from the wind. Expectations were for an exciting and watchable encounter. The men who made it happen for us were Jesse Cutler at the organisational end and Blake Walker as linesman.