by Brendan Gallagher

It’s a great day to be a champion. I, like every other crusader, only had one thing on our collective mind on the morning of January 19th. Well, that’s not true. Considering I neglected to bring the equipment bag on time forcing the team to warm up with only one ball and Rob G sheepishly forgetting the game jersey’s almost prompting a forfeit….. you can say we had other things on our “minds”.

Well despite a few preparation oversights, the Cru was ready to embark on their championship endeavor. Like most matches, the team was off to a fast start, deploying rocky ball after rocky ball to wear the opposition forwards out, before spinning it wide to our fleet footed and sure handed backs. After a series of successful phases, a penalty about 10m out led to our first try. None other than our legendary Saffer captain Brett confidently and quickly taps and bulldozes his way for the first points of the game. After some brief back and forth rugby, it was the backs turn to shine with some skillful passing and clean breaks leading to a swift pair of tries for the French bulldog himself Hugo Mestre – the latter of which was supported by three brilliant offloads including an American football pass from the deck putting All JinJan’s sporting minds into a proverbial pretzel.

The defining moment for the Cru and perhaps the season was just before half. Backed up against the wall and committing penalty after penalty including a likely high tackle or two, the opposition elects for a scrum(ooops). Three dominating pushes led to restarts and quick whistles by the referee, when in comes Nostradamus(Travis) who says, “Hey Matt, this ball gonna pop out quick, grab it and go.” Surely enough, another dominating scrum sees the ball pinball its way into Matt’s arms and off he goes. He could..go…all…the…way.. touchdown. TRY! A short little 95m(google “how far is rugby pitch”) scamper by our scrum half caps off an incredible first half performance and puts the cru up big heading into the half.

Well, just like how all Cru matches usually start fast the opposite can be true for us in the 2nd half. And, true to form, All JinJan starts clawing their way back, scoring try after try to close the gap. A heroic effort by yours truly jumping on the ball in the try zone ? midway through the 2nd half to extend the lead proved to be the game winner. A monster effort by the Cru in defense including about 5 high tackles and warning by the referee despite not earning a yellow card was needed to secure the win, and the Cru were able to kick the ball and claim their rightful place atop the table and declare themselves Shuto League Champions. It was a great day indeed!

The aftermatch was held at local Nepalise restaurant serving up the best cheese naan we had that day. And last but not least, and in all seriousness, the most remarkable thing about our club and the biggest championship effort came from all of our supporters and non-players as well as those players that laced up but didn’t get on the field. Our club is defined by our people and in no uncertain terms was it on full display by the overwhelming love and support by the entire club family. Thank you all, and here’s to the next championship.

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