July 26, 2007

Fight for Survival

brave      After a less than average Shuto League Campaign in the Autumn the Tokyo Gaijin RFC were slated to play Urayasu Beers Rugby Club, who were runners up in the Second Division to decide if they stay in the First Division in the next campaign. All games had been close affairs and in fact the Gaijin had the closest losing margin against eventual undefeated League winners, the Tentou Mushi Club, but ‘close losses’ are not good enough and today`s match was the punishment. Having whipped all comers in the 2nd Division the previous year, the January 28th match was to decide if the Gaijin were to stay in a competitive league or drop to a less challenging one. Always up for a challenge, they were out to keep things as they were.

Joe Fisher was back in the Club colours for the first time in a few years after spending some time in his native New Zealand and moonlighting for the YCAC. Apisai Bati was also back to strengthen the centers after spending three years with the Blue Socks Club in the Saitama League.

The game didn`t start too well with Paulo de Berriozabal dropping the kickoff. This seemed to lift the Urayasu Beers and the Gaijin seemed to drop their guard and were instantly in trouble. Everyone in attendance soon realized that Beers were going to be no pushover as they started charging into mauls and rucks with a keen desire to leave the 2nd Division behind. The Gaijin continued with a plethora of errors from pushed passes and poor tackling. It was certainly not the start that Captain Alistair Nimmo had talked of before the game.

June 23, 2007

School Boy Era

Sample Image24 June 2007 - Tokyo Gaijin RFC v Ryutsu Keizai Daigaku - LOSS

"Life isn't all beer and skittles, but beer and skittles, or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman's education."
Thomas Hughes Tom Brown’s School Days (1857)

Traveling out to Ryutsu Keizai Daigaku’s campus meant an early start for most members of the team. Too early for some it turned out and the usual lateness issues ensured that the pre-match build-up was mostly an exercise in counting heads.
June 8, 2007

Sugadaira 10’s

 Sample Image

Sugadaira 10's & 15's Sugadaira, Nagano, Japan  

INTRO-- In the first weekend of July the Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club made their annual pilgrimage to the mountains of Nagano and the resort town of Sugadaira – Japan’s own ‘Rugby Heaven’.

In a country where a fully grassed sports field is a rare luxury, the tiny town of Sugadaira has over 50 brilliantly manicured pitches. They also have a number of specialist rugby shops. In my reckoning, this gives Sugadaira (population c. 1,000) more high quality rugby facilities than the Greater Tokyo Area (population c. 35 million).

A few members went up the night before and were met the following day by the rest of the Gaijin. Some time after 1 pm the team assembled for their their warm ups and practice. A sparse 11 players managed to make it to Sugadaira. With Capt. Al Nimo out injured he rallied the team with the help of the other members from the I.R. list Bully and Blake Walker from the sideline offering advice, jeers/cheers and water support.

May 19, 2007

A close loss to Nippon Steel

Sample ImageTokyo Cup 2nd Division – 3rd Round 2007 (Sunday 20 May)
Tokyo Gaijin RFC v NSC Ruggers

    On a fine but windy day at the Kizoochi Rugby Grounds, the Tokyo Gaijin were knocked out of the 2007 Tokyo Cup through a narrow loss to a highly motivated Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) Ruggers.

    The first half started with the NSC Ruggers electing to run towards the river end of the ground. This gave them a slight wind advantage, although the breeze was essentially a cross-field one. The Gaijin got off to their customary slow start, conceding two early tries to the NSC Ruggers – one a pushover from a five-meter scrum, the other a classic winger’s try in the corner.

    The Gaijin did manage to hit back next with a classic winger’s try of their own though when
Andy Ballard came off the blind and stormed through a gap nicely set up for him by the inside backs. Shaunne Hughes converted to cut NSC’s lead to 10 – 7.