Dateline: 11th February, 2018
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC always looks forward to their domestic tour out to Yamanashi to play Daen RFC and other local teams. This time they were up against Aloha RFC, made up mostly of Daen RFC players. The Gaijin managed to win the game 35 v 24, but not before an early scare. Jay Azuma got a double with further tries to Gorka Gerdiaga, Paddy Watson and Bryan O’Brien.
The boys all fronted up at Shinjuku Center building for the two hour trip out to Yamanashi. The only problem was that one particular back didn’t show up – apparently he was sick – which left the team with no backs reserves. Thankfully, Bryan O’Brien, an ex-TGRFC player now residing in Maine, USA, was in town for a visit and helped with the numbers. The trip out was relaxed with some appreciating the fantastic views while others slept. The venue was Midai Minami Koen – a bit soft underneath from recent rain or snow-melt, but still much better than some of the fields we play on in Tokyo.
The game was played in three 20 minute thirds. Some of the Gaijin were obviously still in ‘sleep-mode’ as they started slowly and were down 10 v 0 inside ten minutes. It was a
mistake-riddled first 20 minutes which seemed like a scrum-a-thon. Simple catch and pass seemed impossible. The Gaijin, through Jay Azuma, did manage to pull a try back and go into the break at the end of the first third only down 10 v 7.
The Gaijin picked up two tries to one in the second third of the game and went into the second break leading 21 v 17.
The Gaijin repeated this in the second half and gave away a penalty try when Nikola Pavesic was judged to have tackled the potential try-scorer around the neck. The final result was 35 v 24 to the TGRFC.
After winning the Shuto League a few weeks back with some quality rugby one would be excused for thinking this was an entirely different Tokyo Gaijin team. The mistakes were plenty and the penalties were numerous. The one positive light was the scrum, which dominated their opposition and won a few turnovers and penalties.
Standoff Paddy Watson deservedly won the Man of the Match award. He scored a try and kicked 5 from 5 conversions. He made one of the longest runs of the game – a 50 meter effort – which soon led to a try. A special mention should go to winger Bryan O’Brien who made the tackle of the game. He absolutely hammered the biggest prop on the field moments after the prop had taken a kickoff, and put him down for the count.
Score: TGRFC 35 (Jay Azuma 2, Gorka Gerediaga 1, Paddy Watson 1, Bryan O’Brien 1 tries; P. Watson 5/5 conversions) DAEN 24 (3 tries, 1 pen. try; 2/4 conversions)
Man of the Match: Paddy Watson