Around the traps 6
June 17, 2010
2010 Shuto League 10’s Champions
July 5, 2010
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Gaijin Outclass Godamz

On a sombre, rainy day, TGRFC displayed some slick, fluid rugby and some excellent individual ball-carrying skills against their final opposition of the Tokyo Cup group stages. With the pressure on the team to win and to win big (4 tries were required to have a fighting chance of getting through to the promotional playoffs), the Gaijins outclassed  Goddamz by a score of 46 -7.
If the match before was anything to going by (Superman vs Doronko) the wet conditions could prove to be either a boon or a hindrance to the Gaijin style of play. 
The wet conditions could be ideal for keeping the ball within the heavy forward pack and crashing through the opposition but on the other hand it could expose the team to  handling errors, a problem the team has been plagued with throughout the competition.
The first few minutes were always going to be a nervous affair and both teams struggled to get the ball moving on the wet surface.
Although the determination and workrate was there, the initial breakdowns were messy and the Gaijin backs had little opportunity to prise any attacks from the slow balls off the ruck. 
It was a welcome relief therefore when Hitoshi, the pocket rocket, crashed through for the first of several tries. With the forwards starting to dominate possession and gathering momentum, Hitoshi was on the end of a short ball from captain Downer and used his strength to crash through the Goddamz defence. 7-0
The try seemed to soothe the nerves of TGRFC and from then on they never looked back.
If the first try was a more collective effort, the second try was nothing short of individual brilliance. Joffa, positioned just beyond the opposition’s 40m line, collected the ball on the left wing beat two backs and then proceeded to knock over another two players at pace before placing the ball firmly between the posts. 14-0
From virtually nothing the ageing but spritely 40-something conjured a try that will surely go down as one of the “tries of the season”. 
As the first half wore on it was evident that the sheer bulk of the forwards was gradually wearing the Goddamz defence down. If the lineout was a bit shaky for the first half and for most of the game, the rest of the forward play was outstanding. With the absence of Mauro, who missed the final team cut by a matter of minutes, the front five of Warren, Liam, Rob, Will, and Jesse were causing a lot of problems for the opposition throughout the first half. Indeed, the Gaijin pack managed to wheel a few scrums as well as stealing a couple of balls in open play. Special mention has to be made to Liam, who was playing hooker for the first time in several years. For the whole game he worked tirelessly around the loose and never shirked a tackle. It was fitting therefore that Rich, the vice-captain and flanker for the day, would score the third try of the game. In typical forward fashion, the towering Welshman barged his way over the line from a couple of meters out. 21-0
Whilst the opposition put in some solid tackles in the first half they never looked threatening with the ball in their hands. Whereas the likes of Doronko and Superman had some classy individuals amongst a well-drilled side, Goddamz never gained their rhythm and failed to break the gain-line in the very few times they had possession.
As the final few minutes of the first half counted down, Ryan, our ever-dangerous fullback, got the all important fourth try to make the score 26 – 0 at halftime
After a spirited performance and some hearty words from  Matt (Captain), the team looked for more points in the second half.
In contrast to the first half, much of the second half was dominated by the Tokyo Gaijin backs. Both Brendan, having replaced Charles at the interval, and Matt looked a threat every time they had the ball and the rest of the backline also exchanged some neat passes to one another. After only a few minutes into the second half, a penalty conversion by Matt was followed by a try from Brendan. Having collected a pass off the back of a scrum, the slippery no 10 darted past a couple of Goddamz players and finished coolly under the posts. 36-0
With the team comfortably ahead, some key changes were made during the middle of the second half. Alaister made a welcome return to the field after being out for several months with a damaged collarbone, Blake replaced Jo, Andy for Will, and the young James Mitchell (playing in his last game) for Ikuo.
The impact of Blake at centre and Andy at flanker was noticeable straight away. The former looked particularly sharp as he powered through several tackles every time he got the ball.
Andy also looks a revelation at flanker. Having made a couple of bullocking runs he was also omnipresent in the loose and solid in defence.
In the final quarter of the game Joffa and Brendan both collected their second tries of the game. Both of these tries involved the not so hirsute pair crashing past a couple of the opposition players. 46-0

Although Goddamz sneaked a try in the final few seconds of the game, the final score of 46-7 was a testament of the dominant display of rugby by TGRFC.

Score: TGRFC 47 (Joffa Harris 2, Brendan O’Doherty 2, Hitoshi Chihara 1,  Richard O’Shea 1, Mike Ryan 1tries, Matt Downer 6/6 conversions) GODDAMNS 7 (1 try, 1 conversion

Man of The Match: Joffa Harris

Goat of Match: Rob Poulton (Didn’t show after a promise the night before to stay off drink)


1. Warren Adamson (South Africa)

2. Liam             (England)

3. Rob Poulton (England)

4. Richard O’Shea (Wales)

5. Jesse Takahashi (USA)


7. Dave Kelver (USA)

8. Joffa Harris (Australia)

9. Rory Brown (South Africa)

10. Matt Downer (NZ)

11. Ikuo Fukuda (Japan)

12. Hitoshi Chihara (Japan)

13. Jo Iwasaki (Japan)

14. James Mitchell (Scotland)

15. Mike Ryan (NZ)

Reserves: 16. Takashi Narita (Japan),  17. Chris Lucas (Australia), 18. Andy Ballard (England), 19.  Blake Walker (NZ), 20. Alaister Nimmo (England), 21. Brendon O’Doherty (Australia), 22. Charles Joffre (France)

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