(25th January, 2009) The Tokyo Gaijin RFC (TGRFC) turned up to Asahi Shinbun ground out in Misato hoping to turn the tables on Akanegahama after defeats in two previous ‘friendly’ games. It was a chance to give some less experienced players more game time but the Gaijin still wanted to win after the losing their first match of the new year. Many of the Gaijin squad opted to walk from the station rather than the usual taxi ride, which meant most players arrived at the field at the proposed kick-off. Thankfully this was a 'friendly' and the 'Hama boys were happy enough to delay the start for a quick Gaijin warm up.
After this less than ideal start, the Gaijin started cold and were quickly under pressure. Akanegahama had the early running and took a 7 v 0 lead after 10 minutes. The Gaijin were defending in their own half and two penalties in quick succession for ruck infringements allowed Akanegahama to gain good ground and go on the attack. Some poor defense allowed one of the Akanegahama centers to crash over the line 10 metres left of the post. As he did so he was hit in a tackle and the ball seemed to spill forward. A follow-up attacker picked the ball up and dived over the tryline and the referee had no hesitation in giving the try. The try was then converted by the standoff and the ‘Hama were away to a good start and seemingly carrying on where they left off last game. Score: 7 v 0 to Akanegahama.
2008 was a good season for the Tokyo Gaijin, winning many more games than we lost, ending as Finalists for the 2nd Division Tokyo Cup and undefeated Champs in the Shuto League. Here is a run down of what went on in terms of Awards and Merits for the 2008 season.
First however, special thanks must go to Bati Apisai and Joffa Harris for organizing the event, Mike Tokue for providing a fantastic slide show as the entertainment and Erin Hughes for providing an excellent video of his experiences with the team.
Dateline January 18, 2009. Time for the much awaited rematch between the Tokyo Gaijin and Yokohama Country and Athletic Club First XV. In the 2008 event the Gaijin felt robbed of two tries the local referee failed to award and went down in the final 5 minutes to a well worked YCAC try in what was a bruising contest. This year, after a strong 2008 Tokyo Cup and Shuto League, the Gaijin felt they had what it takes to pull out a win against their biggest rival. In December another foreigner-based club, Tokyo Crusaders, was humbled 12-44 against YCAC as their imported ex-Rugby League professional carved them up in the centers, so word was out that we could expect a mighty challenge defensively in containing a fast stepping runner. To win this expectedly tough match, the Gaijin forwards, smaller overall, had to step up and take on the big YCAC boys up front and play in-your-face rugby while using the full width of the park so the big YCAC bruisers would struggle to keep pace.