By. Thomas Cocks

Pass the ball, drink a pint

The annual HUB 10’s tournament is usually a great opportunity to dust off the cobwebs from the summer break and kick off the new season. This year it followed the Meat Cup and for those that didn’t melt in the extreme heat there, they could enjoy much more traditional rugby conditions this time out. It was touch and go whether the tournament would actually be on because of the dicey weather forecast but thankfully it went ahead and it was a top day as usual. Thanks to Tooley who pitched up at the crack of dawn to set up the Cru’ base for the day and then stayed behind at the end to clear up after everyone.

More than 20 players plus a few supporters turned out despite the weather and unsociable early start which was great to see. Dom was late (obviously) but at least he managed to find the right pitch this time, I suspect with a little help from Veena. After we had endured the opening ceremony we kitted up and got ready for the first of our 4 group games. This was to be against Patchigi which was a team from Koryo whom we knew would be a handful. In the ludicrously short 6 minute format, Cru’ dominated possession and with some slick handling (despite the greasy conditions), we managed to run in 2 tries, the first by Brett and then Benji. So we recorded a great early 10-0 win to give us some confidence leading into the next fixture. Unfortunately we had an hour to wait until our next game against Olivers whom we usually beat convincingly in the 15 man format. The time between games was occupied by helping out the teams who were struggling for numbers. All France, in true All France style, had turned up to a 10’s tournament with just 4 players! Frustratingly we couldn’t turn our good track against Olivers into a 10’s win as we couldn’t force our way over the line, thus the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Next up, after another hour stood in the rain, was the Japan Dental College whom we knew nothing about. After a succession of calamitous dropped balls and horrible decision making we conceded our first try of the day. In a 6 minute game it’s very difficult to overturn a lead and we went down 5-0. So we had a win, draw and a loss going into our final group game against Keio Pharmaceutical who again were an unknown quantity. This meant we needed a good win to secure top spot in the group and a favourable draw for the next round. A good win we got with a 10-0 demolition job thanks to tries from Taku and Sparrow.

So we headed into the knock stages having topped the group with every confidence of going further than our usual exit from the competition at this stage. Sadly it was not to be. Our opponents were Fuji club who we also have a good track record against in 15’s. However they had an unfamiliar line up, bristling with ringers including two Samurai wingers. So we shipped a try to each of them and our tournament ended right there with a 10-0 loss. Fuji club actually went on to lift the trophy so at least we can say that we were knocked out by the winners.

Unfortunately we suffered long term injures to two of our key men in the back line. Benjy broke his wrist after a fine return to action for the Cru’ and Breifne, who made a very impressive debut, managed to bend his finger into a right angle somehow. Both players will now miss the first half of the season. Get well soon fellas.

Strongly ushered by Travis, everyone else who didn’t have to go to hospital went to the chippie for their post game re-hydration treatment. John was so hydrated in fact that he was sick in his kit bag on the way home!

Other noteworthy incidents were that someone pillaged the tape from the medical bag prompting a furious tirade from Tooley. Brett must have been struggling with jet lag as he picked up (yet another) yellow card and took a kick to touch that flew straight over the dead ball line.

All in all, a little disappointing to get knocked out at the same stage again but at least it meant more time in the chippie!

3-2-1’s
Briefne: 5pts
Dom: 4pts
Brett/Taku: 3pts
Junki: 2pts
Tom: 1pt
John’s kit bag: Winner

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