by Joe Flagler

Sunday is a rugby day.

Fueled by McDonalds and combini Boss coffees, the boys began the walk to Niijuku Mirai Koen. Now, as most were focused on the game ahead, it was near impossible not to be distracted by Hitchman’s haircut. Never in my life had I ever seen such a perfect balance of hair care product and grace. More than one high-school girl stopped to take a photo with him; yet the boys still made it to the field in time to strut into a slow warm up.

As the starting 15 were named, a few Crusaders rookies were fortunate enough to don the black and blue; big welcome to Tavis (That’s not a spelling mistake, it’s not Travis), Yuuki, and Dylan.

The game quickly got into the grind as the Cru started to play hard-nosed rugby early on, with the forwards rumbling up field. There was a quick scare for children on the side-line early into the game, as a wardrobe malfunction left Reece nude from the waist down as he evaded a tackle. To everyone’s relief, his enormous quads shielded all his gear from view. This show of girth may have been enough to deter the opponents’ counter attack, as Captain Cocks was able to use his massive physique to shake-and-bake his way into the promised land. With an impressive kick from Matt Sparrow, the Cru saw an early lead of 7-0. The lead was short-lived however, as a break in the line and fantastic pace led to a fast response by the tenacious AllJinJan.

The cru put pressure on the ensuing kick, and after a big hit, Reece took a loose ball and rolled for a while before the ball was secured and rucked. Owen was hot that day, digging into the sloppy rucks and firing out missiles. One such missile found its way to the always-impressive Sebastian Forastiere: after a summer of lounging on beaches, a rejuvenated Seb used his footwork and head-down running to weave a glorious try through a solid defensive line. A missed kick put the score to 12-7 for the Cru. After kick-off, AllJinJan forced the ball deep into Cru territory. Due to some positioning errors, Joe found himself at the fly-half position, and a kick had to be done: only he knew that he had never performed a successful kick during a game, and this would just add to that tally. A deflected kick was thankfully scooped by Reece and brought out of danger. After a quick phase, the new kid Dylan showed what he was capable of. Fending off about a third of the opposition before seeing the deck, he set the Cru up in optimal field positioning.
This fantastic field position was short-lived as the referee saw a potential infraction in the ruck, and gave the opposition the ball. This momentum switch gave AllJinJan enough of a boost to put two quick ones in before half.

The second half had the boys fairly frustrated, and this frustration showed in the physicality. Early into it, a yellow card was sent toward the new back Dylan for a tip-tackle. Frustration gave way to more penalties, and AllJinJan used their golden boot to slot a penalty kick and ran one outside for another try. They almost had a second try, had Yuuki not flattened the largest player on the field for a try saving effort – a hit so big that the opposing team had to give him a standing ovation in appreciation. The only other second-half note in favour of the Cru was when the man-bear-child himself, Matt Foster, said “not today children” and took one up the middle by himself. One that led to a conversion that Sparrow wouldn’t miss (without a tee, I might add, because he’s got that swagger).

Final Score – 17 Cru – 31 AJJ

True to Cru tradition, the end of game speeches were followed by the Man of the Match:
Their MVP – Mr. Takuya Tone
Our MVP – Foster

321s were….

5 points – Foster;4 points – Reece/Dylan; 3 points – Cocks; 2 points – Owen; 1 point – Joe/Tavis

Following the match, the dedication was further embodied by a ruthless invasion of the Ojisan Bar where two unnamed males proceeded in a testosterone fueled game of “slaps”, where the question was answered – “two or three fingers?”
All in all, it was what the boys needed to iron out the kinks. A much different result awaits the Cru in their upcoming league matches.

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