Tokyo Gaijin RFC vs. Mandala RFC
Date: 19th February 2017
Cup Winners’ Cup Round 1
Venue: Inagi Nagamine
Kick off: 15:30
Man of the Match: Chris Musgrave
The hype around the first round of the CWC could not be avoided as the Gaijin fronted up against the ever threatening Mandala Rugby Football Club. The cold weather and cross winds didn’t play to anyone’s advantage as the teams prepared to kick off. With the Gaijin receiving the opening kick off, we were sure in for a battle but Mandala kicked too deep and directly out, setting up the first scrum of the game on the half way mark.
The Gaijin took advantage of this mistake as Sota made a sniping run and drew a penalty, giving Gaijin a tap and go chance which sent Takuya out wide for the first try within the first 2 minutes. It looked like a good day for the Gaijin as the second try came soon after with Mandala giving up good field position as Takashi broke down field and drawing yet another penalty. The Gaijin rumbled their lineout move with Nik forcing his way over giving a good cushion to the Gaijin, but the fantastic advantage that was built by the Gaijin was soon eroded as Mandala found space out wide and some soft, ineffective hits didn’t bring the man down.
Mandala found themselves 12-10 up at one point and it looked like the Gaijin may have enjoyed their last bit of advantage. Some grit was required by the boys in blue and gold and after a penalty advantage was signalled, Paddy took a free shot at the posts, notching up a drop goal to give the Gaijin the lead once more, albeit by one point. This slight shift in momentum was just about enough for the Gaijin to find their compass once more get their heads down and focus. The continued pressure and discipline in contact forced Mandala to commit a number of infringments, allowing the boys to get up field with touch kicks. One of these line outs allowed phase play to continue as the forwards shifted the ball around, eventually getting Takashi over the line from a quick tap from 5 metres out.
The first half ended 20-12 to the Gaijin after some hard hits and tough contact from Mandala. The mood was still positive and the boys had their heads high while Mandala were battling through a brutal game.
The first of the subs were made at half time with big John coming on for the solid Liam, adding a different dynamic in the scrum and open play. Even though the Gaijin were playing positive rugby, they were held to the fire by a determined and gritty Mandala team. They scored first in the second half, bringing the score to within one point but the boys fought back and spread the ball wide for Nik to collect his second try of the game but Mandala didn’t want to go away. The scoreline was an ebb and flow of proof of both teams wanting to get the upper hand, but the Gaijin holding out to create a breathable cushion of 6 points. The final score ending 30-24 as Mandala ran out of time to put the Gaijin to bed.
It was a hard grinding win for the Tokyo Gaijin but started the season well with a win over tough opponents. Even though Mandala was a formidable opponent, it can easily be said that the rest of the competition will only get harder. The Gaijin continued to build on what they practiced and agreed upon at the beginning of the season. The next round of CWC will test the Gaijin again as they take on Waikiki Banyans.
1 – Tommy Nasuno
2 – Tomo Setoguchi (c) (sub. Hiroshi Fukasawa)
3 – Donny Sloth (sub. Kosuke Yamamoto)
4 – Liam Ramshaw (sub. John Simpson)
5 – Gorka Gerediaga (vc)
6 – Paul Bertier (sub. Mao Surulu)
7 – Nikola Pavesic
8 – Takashi Tanikawa
9 – Sota Kaneko
10 – Paddy Watson
11 – Shane McCullagh
12 – Alex Auld (vc) (sub. Daisuke Ikegami)
13 – Chris Musgrave
14 – Travis Drury (sub. Yoshiro Sato)
15 – Takuya Ichizono
16 – John Simpson
17 – Mao Surulu
18 – Kosuke Yamamoto
19 – Hiroshi Fukasawa
20 – Yoshiro Sato
21 – Akira Yamagen (not used)
22 – Daisuke Ikegami
Coach: Warren Adamson
Support: Toma Ballan
Tries: Takuya Ichizono (1); Nikola Pavesic (2); Takashi Tanikawa (1); Paddy Watson (1)
Conversions: Takuya Ichizono (1/5)
Drop Goals: Paddy Watson (1/1)