Following the previous rounds win against Zenkai Beers, we wanted to keep the momentum going. We knew that we had the offensive capabilities but our defence let us down the previous game. All Jin Jan, like Zenkai have been a regular fixture in our Shuto calendar for years and know how we play so we knew that it was not going to be easy. Yet again at the desert (Yanokuchi), we were hoping that the home field advantage would benefit us and keep us on the right track.
Game almost started perfectly with Josh Andrade inches away from getting a 50-22. After that, the game almost started horribly thanks to a forward pass by the opposition building up to their disallowed try. With both teams going back and forth, it could of gone either way until 7 minutes in. Jamal Slaughter from an opposition lineout managed to get a touch on it turning it over. If that wasn’t enough, he went on to join the next phase and scored the first try of the game after breaking though half of their defensive line. Sign of great things to come in the game. The next 10 minutes again was back and forth from both sides, both sides doing good and bad. There was a solid chance for the Gaijins to score from a 22 lineout maul but knocked it on the breakaway phase. A run from Sou Miyake, Gorka Gerediaga and Taun Vermeulan from our 22 proved to be the start of a sequence of phases leading to another try scored by Jamal. Now the game seemed in Gaijins favour. For the next 10 minutes, the Gaijins held possession, building it up phase after phase. Until a scrum on the opposing 22 proved to be too much for Jin Jan and after an 8-man pick, Conan O’Sullivan scored off a 5m run. With a few minutes remaining, Jin Jan had a few chances to get over the line but the Gaijin defence, in particular the turnover in the scrum squandered what chance they had. Half time score was 21-0.
The second half started similarly to the 1st half; after capitalizing from the error of Jin Jan, the Gaijins ran a few phases and Jamal got his hattrick after bursting through a few defenders. Not far after, the forward pack proved their dominance, driving a scrum for 15m over the line. Jin Jan were not giving up though and fought till the end almost scoring. However thanks to the defensive effort of Martin Dulhoste, they were unable to make the most of their chance. Instead a beautiful kick from Daisuke Teraoka on the goal line landed right into the hands of Izawa Hana, who popped it off to Oisin MacPartlin, kicked another up-and-under to himself, juggling the ball and almost knocking it on to score the try. Goalline-to-goalline, post-to-post, simple yet amazing try. On the kick-off the Gaijins knocked it on, giving a chance to the opposition within our 22 but the Gaijin forwards, were not having it. Turning the scrum over again, and again 5 minutes later, this time in the opposite 22. We came, we saw and we scored the try, ending the game 45-0.
MVP this game went to Jamal; as it is his name, he truly slaughtered the opposition both offensively and defensively, on top of that scoring a hat-trick. That’s not the only positive but there were many positives and few negatives. Compared to the game against, Zenkai Beers in the previous week, a much better performance defensively was the biggest positive to take. Also considering our next opponent Crusaders, it is exactly what was needed and hopefully we can keep the momentum going into that game. Big thanks to Haruna and Ayaka for the photos and videos!
roved to be a fight of endurance as both sides were struggling with the heat and lack of forwards on the bench. This proved to be quite a challenge considering the backs in particular, who have never scrummed in their life, had a tendency to ‘let the ball slip’ for most of the game resulting in a very high number of scrums. To make matters worse, the defence was weak at times, letting the opposition ease past the line and score easy tries at times. However, it was not all bad. There were plenty of positives which as a result led us to victory.
The Gaijins landed the first punch after 10 minutes, scoring off a lineout maul from the opposition 22 (TS: Hiroshi Fukusawa). Soon after, the opposition scoffed the kick-off, Kohei Mitsuhashi straight from the scrum kicked a beautiful up-and-under for Yu Nagai to catch and score. However, Zenkai had other ideas and they were able to capitalize on a string of sloppy penalties and loose defence. The guys soon rallied up and did the same to them scoring after a great sequence between the two Filipinos (Tomohiro Setoguchi and Kohei) in the squad, finishing with Sou Miyake scoring. An unforced error from Hiroshi Fukusawa, gifted them with the ball and was able to score. A quick sequence of hands from A to Z a few minutes after made sure that the Gaijins were still at good arm’s length of the opposition (TS: Conan O’Sullivan). After defending the final minutes before half-time, the opposition was awarded a try, making the score 24-21.
The second half started with a bang as the Gaijins were able to score 3 minutes after the referee blew the whistle (TS: Taun Vermeulen). Zenkai were able to go over the line one more time but that would be the last for them. The score at this point was 29-28 which would have been a very tight game but with 20 minutes still on the clock, the Gaijins made a few changes to the backline, b ringing new energy to the team. We finished the game with 6 unanswered tries (TS: Conan, Oisin MacPartlin, Hiroshi, Nagai, Fumio Mino, Izawa Hana), 69-31.
Game was much closer than the score line shows but due to the loose defence at times, Zenkai did keep us on our toes for majority of the game. MVP was Conan O’Sullivan who scored a hat-trick and made plenty of key tackles and runs to help us get the win. Big shout out to the forwards for playing the whole game with only one sub and keeping it together (Honorable Mentions: Win Irham, Lonnie Blankenship, Natsuhiko Kunitomo). Also a big thank you to Haruna and Ayaka for the photos and videos)
Izawa Hana (JPN)
Damien Naughton (IRE)
Fumio Mino (JPN)
Yu Nagai (JPN)
Joshua Andrade (ENG)
Nabin Giri (NPL)
Martin Dulhoste (FRA)
Ryo Takahama (JPN)
Thanks a lot to Haruna Setoguchi for recording the game.