Gaijin put Barbarians to the Sword
Dateline: March 3rd, 2019
Venue: Katsushika Sogo Sports Center Track & Field Stadium
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC withstood a strong second half comeback, a large penalty count against them, and a red card to overcome Chiba Barbarians. The Barbarians are arguably the strongest team in the Katsushika League and have put on a couple of big scores on opposition teams in the current season and were favorites to win. The Gaijin managed to assemble a strong squad even though it was a wet and windy day.
The Gaijin had a strong first half which allowed them to go to the break with a 19 v 0 lead, despite winger Mosese Nasegesege spending 10 minutes in the sinbin for a no-arms tackle. In the second half the Barbarians came roaring back due to a strong scrum and a huge penalty count in their favor. They got within two points with 5 minutes to go but replacement Gaijin winger Michi Koch scored in the last minute to close the game out for the Gaijin.
The Gaijin got their first points when Daisuke Teraoka cut back inside and found a huge hole in the defense from about 15 metres out to score next to the posts. The normally accurate kicker missed the easy conversion but the Gaijin had the early lead at 5 v 0.
In the 20th minute Mosese Nesegesege was penalized and yellow-carded for a no-arms tackle. It was a big hit and some might argue that the victim bounced off the hit before Nesegesege could wrap his arms around him but the referee had no hesitation in sending him to the ‘naughty boy’s chair’.
In the 25th minute David McElhinney increased the Gaijin lead with an excellent opportunist try. The ball squirted out the back of a Barbarians scrum and McElhinney picked it up and bolted the ten metres to the try line. The conversion had the Gaijin up by 12 v 0.
Right on halftime the Barbarians had a great chance to get on the board as their scrum shunted the Gaijin scrum backwards from 5 metres out. At the last minute the Barbarians No.8 lost control and Gaijin flanker Tom McCullough dived on the ball behind his own try line in the middle of a mass of heaving bodies to save the day.
Early in the second half the Gaijin went further ahead when Mosese Nesegesege made amends of sorts for his earlier indiscretion with a thirty metre run to the try line. It was made possible after Jamie Martin chased a kick through and put pressure on the fullback. The fullback slipped in the wet conditions and Martin tied him up in a tackle. More of his team mates arrived to force a turnover and Nesegesege picked up from the base of the ruck and saw daylight in front of him. The conversion gave the Gaijin a seemingly insurmountable lead at 19 v 0.
But the Chiba Barbarians came roaring back, helped by a dropped kickoff by Mosese Rarasea. His namesake, Mosese Nasegesege, was penalized soon after for a high tackle, gaining him a second yellow card and an automatic red. The Gaijin would have to play the last 18 minutes with 14 men.
It was at this stage that the Barbarians scrum, which had been dominant all game, went into overdrive and the Gaijin scrum simply struggled to compete. Scrum penalties, along with ruck penalties were coming thick and fast against the Gaijin.
In the 15th minute of the second half after 5 straight penalties the Barbarians scored down the right side of the field following a series of rucks and charges. They failed with the conversion but they were finally on the board.
Standoff Daisuke Teraoka failed to go the 10 metres from the kickoff compounding the Gaijin frustrations. Four more consecutive penalties saw the Barbarians get a try from a pushover scrum. Another missed conversion though, left them behind 19 v 10.
The Chiba Barbarians then found easy yards through charges into the defense and quick recycles to go 70 metres to score. The successful conversion made for a nail-biting last 5 or 6 minutes for the Gaijin as the Barbarians were on a roll at 19 v 17.
Unfortunately for the Barbarians some loose ball in the backs was chipped ahead by Gaijin replacement centre Jamie Martin. A Barbarian player was first to the ball but the Gaijin swarmed into the ruck and won a penalty for ‘no-release’. A quick tap was fed out to Mosese Rarasea and he drew and offloaded to Michi Koch out on the wing. Koch still had some work to do and cut back in and went over the line with tacklers hanging off him.
The final score was 24 v 17 to the Gaijin. It was a tough game and the Gaijin were relieved to hear the final whistle, especially knowing it wasn’t another penalty. The Gaijin defense is what won the game for them. Fijian backs Sovita Tui and Mosese Nesegesege pulled off some bone-crunching hits and Sean Robinson and Tom McCullough were strong in defense in the forwards. David McElhinney was awarded Man of the Match for a tireless display of attack and cover defense. The Gaijin scrum was a worry for the second week in a row and will need some shoring up. The penalty count was also worrying for the Gaijin as it almost lost them the game.
SCORE: TGRFC 24 (Daisuke Teraoka 1, David McElhinney 1, Mosese Nasegesege 1, Michi Koch 1 tries; D. Teraoka 2/4 conversions CHIBA BARBARIANS 17 (3 tries; 1/3 conversions)
MVP: David McElhinney
Goat: Mosese Nasegesege (2 x yellow = red card)
12. Sovita Tui (Fiji)
13. Louie Hamilton (c) (Ireland)
14. Mosese Nasegesege (Fiji)
15. Ryosuke Okawara (Japan)
16. Manul Udakambura (Sri Lanka)
17. Kosuke Yamamoto (Japan)
18. Niall Harty (Ireland)
19. John Simpson (USA)
20. Taku Tokuriki (Japan)
21. Mosese Rarasea (Fiji)
22. Jamie Martin (England)
23. Michi Koch (Germany)
Unused reserves: Natsuhiko Kunitomo (Japan), Touch Roy (Australia), Torrey Benware (USA), Yoshihiro Sato (Japan)