The Tokyo Gaijin had already been assured of winning the Shuto League courtesy of their 5 from 5 record when they turned up at Akigase Field to play the final game of the Shuto League on Sunday the 20th of January. It was a chance to give some of the less experienced players more game time but the team also wanted to start the New Year with a win and finish the Shuto League with 6 wins from 6 games. Koganei Green Tortoise, who were third in the League, were hoping to spoil the party and with the best forward pack in the competition were a good chance to do just that.
It didn’t take long for the Gaijin to assert their superiority in the back line, with a few last ditch tackles from Koganei saving tries. Matt Downer was particularly dangerous and was soon rewarded with what looked like being a certain try. He had cut through a few would-be tacklers and as he went to place the ball down over the line it came free. Downer claims it was knocked out of his hand by the tackler. Others thought it just came free.
Members of the Tokyo Gaijin RFC, their wives, girlfriends, helpers, friends and children gathered at The Beer Station in Garden Place, Ebisu, for their Christmas Party and Annual Awards night. 63 guests and 5 kids in all kept the staff quite busy all evening in an All-you-can-drink-and-eat feastathon. With the men all wearing suits and the ladies looking very elegantly attired it was hard to believe this was a rugby function. The Gaijin had won 7, lost 2 and drawn 1 in the Leagues they were participants in throughout 2007. Funnily enough, they had lost all 4 ‘Friendlies’ they played through the year. Perhaps it`s a case of a relaxed mindset or that ‘newer’ members of the squad are often given more game time in these ‘practice’ games. There were mixed results at the Sugadaira 10`s, The Shuto League 10`s and The Manila 10`s. Shall we just say that Rugby was the winner and the boys enjoyed these relatively laid back tournaments more for the festive atmosphere.
Captain Alaister Nimmo and Manager Joffa Harris opened proceedings with a run-down of the year and then presented players with awards. Captain Al had this to say about the year : Winning the Shuto League (not quite in the bag yet as we need to turn up to the match at the start of next year) has been a fantastic achievement. We played well in an undefeated run and it was great to see so many Gaijin players selected for the Shuto League representative side.