In what has been the traditaional batttle for the number 1 spot in the Shuto League over the past few years the Tokyo Gaijin RFC came up against Olivers RFC to go a long way towards deciding who would be the Shuto League Champion for 2013. Last year Olivers narrowly pipped the Gaijin in the same fixture at the same ground (Inagi Stadium) and took the title, and earlier this year in the Tokyo Cup, Olivers came from behind to score in the last minute to win the game. Everyone expected a similar close game.
Unfortunately the little man in the middle with the whistle had a huge bearing on the game and Olivers ended up romping away to their biggest win over the Gaijin.
The Shuto League has three teams which started out as teams made up of predominatly foreigners: the Tokyo Gaijin RFC & the Tokyo Crusaders in first division and All France in the second division. Today, the Gaijin were playing the Tokyo Crusaders for Top Dog amonst the foreign teams in the league. The scene for the second round Shuto League battle was to be Yanokuchi Field.
The first round of the Shuto League for 2013 had Tokyo Gaijin RFC up against Goddams RFC with both clubs keen to get their capaign off to a good start. It was also the start to the new scrum rules introduced into rugby recently.
The game did not get off to a good start with Goddams putting the kickoff out on the full and from the following scrum on halfway Gaijin standoff Sota Kaneko did the same with his kick. So the game wasn't even 1 minute old and both teams had made fundamental errors.
The Tokyo Gaijin always look forward to their annual trip to the mountains and green fields of Sugudaira. It's great to play on lush green grass for a change and to escape the heat and humidity of Tokyo. The management had had some trouble getting the required numbers but thankfully captain Richard O' Shea, Kinta Kaneda and Yuji Takaku were chauffeured up there by Yamagen and survived the journey, to give the team a full squad and a couple of reserves.
The 7's on the Saturday were nothing to write home about with the Gaijin side, packed with forwards and a few slow backs, winning only one of three games. In the 15's on the Sunday, the game we were all looking forward to, Murray Clarke was the star of the show, scoring a hatrick of tries (his first ever according to the man himself), to help the Gaijin to a stunning comeback win over Daen RFC.