May is know for many things: Mother’s Day; Memorial Day; Cinco de Mayo; Victoria Day to name a few. However in the Gaijin calender, its Tambo Season and this year is no exception. Following last year’s triumph, we had no option but to make sure we defended our title from other monsters that may lurk from the fields!
Due to popular demand within the team (who doesn’t want to get muddy while playing rugby, really?!), we yet again entered 2 teams, The Benchwarmers and Chicken Legs to the fields of Fukuchiyama, Kyoto. We had the most particiants to date this year with 15 players looking to get down and dirty. That being said, it wouldn’t be a Gaijin event without any drinking involved, and this is no exception. With the fields so far in the countryside, everyone congregated Saturday afternoon at the 130 year old accomodation for a BBQ feast. Courtesy of the forward party that arrived a day before in Osaka and secured meat and drinks from your friendly Costco, there was an absurd amount of food to be had and alcohol to keep everyone merry. All this was followed by a bonfire under the stary skies where we all chatted until the backs started complaining about how cold it was. The forwards obliged and moved into the accomodation, finishing off the alcohol whilst watching the European Champions Cup Final, hoping to replicate some of the steps on the next day.
In typical Gaijin fashion, everyone in the morning was on a tight schedule, stuffing their faces, packing all belongings and making sure to catch the train in time to the fields. Luckily everyone was able to leave with a full stomach, leaving nothing behind and getting onto the train ontime (to everyone’s surprise). Now onto the main event and the the reason we came all the way. You could of not asked for better weather and even better comrades to take on the fields. The Gaijins consisted of both veterans and rookies of Tambo but this did not matter as everyone the mud sucks your footing making it a level playing field for all.
Both teams were undefeated in the group stages with the Benchwarmers’ playing simple, basic rugby, whilst Chicken Legs won all their games in emphatic fashion. As both teams finished top of the table, the only way they would meet would be to make it to the finals. With that in mind everyone had one goal in mind, going to the finals. Benchwarmers won their semis solidly while the Chicken Legs see-sawed in the first few minutes but after taking a 2 try lead over the opposition, never looked back as they piled it on to set up a Gaijin final.
We Gaijins always love to stand out and again this is no exception. To put on a show for the audience and inspire (especially the kids), we changed it from the usual touch to contact. What a show it was. Everyone throughly enjoyed the game, players and all.
It was not only the Benchwarmers that won for the second year running but the Gaijins who on top of it all won the hearts of everyone by displaying so much heart and passion in the final. Winning was definely a bonus considering the main objective is to immerse everyone in the culture of Japan both on (Tambo Rugby) and off the pitch (staying in a 130 year old house), which I’m sure we accomplished no doubt. Big thank you to the organizers of Fukuchiyama Tambo Rugby, Tomo for organizing the event, Fumio and Tomozou-san for all the photo and videos and of course the players who were a great sport and hopefully everyone had a great time.
Below are the links to all the news coverage for the event and videos of the some of the games.
Final: Benchwarmers vs Chicken Legs
Kansai TV News: