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New Zealand Ambassadors Cup 2017 – 25th Anniversary

Dateline: December 3, 2017

The New Zealand Ambassador’s Cup is a representative game between the best players of the Shuto League and the Tama League. The concept is sponsored by the New Zealand Embassy and is in its 25th year. The title of best League has bounced between the two leagues over that time but the Shuto Legaue has been the stronger team over the last few years with their representatives gaining more wins. The day has three games – an OB’s game, a Shuto Rep. “B” Team game and a Shuto Rep. “A” team game. Players from the 19 teams of the Shuto League play in a trial game from which the best players are chosen and then the following week these players play another trial game where a few more are weeded out until they have what they consider to be the best players of the league.

The games were played at Inagi Rugby stadium on a beautiful Autumn day, and the Gaijin had representatives in two of the games.

The day started off with ‘the Seniors, who then conducted a kid’s coaching clinic. While this was going on the B team played then the A team. The crowd was kept entertained by a mighty version of the Haka by three Polynesian lads and a samba performance by some scantily clad Japanese girls. The ambassador of New Zealand also made a stirring speech.

Old Boys: 43 v 24 Loss

This game featured seniors from 35 to 65. The Tokyo Gaijin only had one representative in this game in Joffa Harris. His usual partner-in-crime Apisai Bati was in Fiji after the death of his father. Despite leading at halftime the Shuto League OB’s didn’t have the gas to keep up with some of the new OB’s (ie. closer to 35 than 65) in the Tama League team with the Tama League running in four unanswered tries towards the latter part of the game. This is the first time in the 10 years since the inception of the OB’s game in the NZ Ambassadors Cup that the Shuto League OB’s have lost.

Shuto League ‘B’ team: 41 v 27 Win

The result was never in doubt with the ‘B’ team winning comfortably in the end. The Gaijin had no representatives in this game.

Shuto League ‘A’ Team : 36 – 30 Win

The Tokyo Gaijin had 7 representatives in this game with 5 starting and two off the bench. The Tama League led for three-quarters of the game but the Shuto League ‘A’ team powered home to get the trophy. Well done to the following Tokyo Gaijin players (positions in brackets) for helping the Shuto League keep the trophy for another year. (1) Akihito Kashiwaba, (2) Tomohiro Setoguchi, (4) Nic Pavesic, (6) Shinpei Yamaguchi,

(14) Nafetalai Helu,(16) Tommy Nasuno (51st min), (17) Tsunaki ‘Don’ Tanaka (41st min). Nafetalai Helu scored the try of the match in a blistering display of speed.

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