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by Matt Foster

The Tokyo Crusaders kitted out for their fourth Shuto League match on 4th November against Tokyo Gaijin. The match was held at the Inagi Chuo Koen Sogo Ground. There was a huge downpour both before and during the match, but that did not deter anyone from either side as both teams had strong sides and full benches.
Notably, there were two Cru debutants in our side for the day; flanker Ed White from the Uk and winger Rasmus Basilier from Finland. They both had outstanding games with their times on the field, but we are sad to say that this was most likely their first and final games for the Cru.
The match kicked off in the pouring rain at 12:30.
Both sides were a bit nervy to begin with, as both the Cru and the Gaijin knew the importance of this game. The Gaijin seemed to settle in a little bit sooner as they got an early try, which was converted to put them 7-0 up.
However, the Cru managed to pull the finger out and started to apply the pressure. With the help of a yellow card to one of the Gaijin players, we looked a lot more comfortable and more in control of the game.
Then suddenly out of nowhere, the Gaijin winger made a storming run up the sideline of the pitch, running over 50m. He was certainly in, but due to horrible conditions, just as he was touching down, he slipped and knocked the ball on over the line. A lucky break for us.
Even though the sin binned player came back on suspiciously early, we still managed to keep pushing hard and kept the Gaijin under pressure. Then, Travis Dixon made a storming break, slicing through their defences and over the line. But, due to ‘pressure’ on the referee, the try decision was overruled as Travis was deemed to have gone over the very short (2m) dead ball line.
Before the first half was over we had suffered a number of injuries. Prop, Akihito Kashiwaba, came off with a broken jaw, flanker, Sebastian Forastiere, came off with a knee injury and replacement flanker, Brendan Gallagher, went off to the blood bin due to his nose ‘making contact’ with a boot.
Akihito Kashiwaba was replaced by Eric Wilkinson who had a stormer of a match with a number of big carries throughout the game. Sebastian Forastiere was replaced by Brendan Gallagher, who was soon temporarily replaced by Gen Hirano.

The second half began, with it still raining hard. During the second half, we made a number of substitutions, bringing on: Matthew Foster, Ed White, Shunsuke Murayama and Edward Downer.
The Cru began strongly with a number of solid carries and line-breaks by both backs and forwards. Tom Cocks, forever leading from the front, spearheaded the attack, with more runs coming from Reece Morgan, Eric Wilkinson, Seth Robson and Travis Dixon.
Our scrums and lineouts were extremely solid throughout the match, cleanly winning most of our own ball off the lineout.
Sadly, we could not convert our opportunities, but the Gaijin took theirs, managing to get a converted try soon into the second half. The score is now 17-0 to the Gaijin, which included a penalty kick.
The Cru did not let their heads drop and continued attacking and defending valiantly until the very end. No more scores were made in the match.

It was a day made for the forwards and it was truly a tough fight up front. After the match, both teams probably had many sore bodies, all in need of an ice cold pint.
We would like to thank the referee Mr Hiroshi Taniguchi for officiating the game in such horrible conditions.

Our vote for the opposition MVP was their No. 6, Mr Jo Seva.
Their vote went to our No. 8, Mr Seth Robson.

321s
5 – Yosuke Kikuma
4 – Travis Dixon
3 – Seth Robson
2 – Tom Cocks
1 – Yuki Adachi

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