By Will Germann

After the long rest the Crusaders enjoyed for the summer it was time to get back to work in the
Shuto League match vs. Swift. The turnout was great with 25 players ready to fight for the win.
With a few new faces in tow, Jake and Matt, we headed to the pitch in the caravan of taxis from
the station. Once we got there the French reporters running a story on tattoos and rugby had a
good run with our lads who sported some ink for photos and provided some interviews for their
story. We then had some time to run some practice drills in the heat. It seemed like summer
was in it’s own fight with the fall season. The pitch was turf with little sideline room so we ran some warm-ups just out of the enclosure for the field. The time to meet with Swift and the ref came quickly and the team captain, Brett confirmed rolling substitutions were the order of the day.

Swift’s team captain looked relieved at this decision.
Brett announced our starting line-up and mentioned everyone would get some game time.

The line-up was the following:

Forwards
1 Morgan, Reece
2 Adachi, Yuuki
3 Wada, Junki
4 Saffery, Frank
5 Cocks, Tom
6 Symonds, Patrick
7 Galbraith, Rob
8 Pentland-Smith, Brett (TC)

Backs

9 Sugimoto, Yoriaki
10 Matsumoto, Suguru
11 Mestre, Hugo
12 Sumner, Dominic
13 Limin, David
14 Kunde, Benjamin
15 Hara, Tomonori

Reserves

Arakawa, Tomohito
Beasley, Matt
Germann, Wil
Hazeras, Lucas
Riley, Jacob
Wilkins, Keith

At the start we could tell that Swift had a younger squad than the Crusaders overall. Just after
the first ten minutes Suguru scored a Try with a successful conversion by Yoriaki. This
bolstered our spirits against the heat that did not want to give up. Shortly after Rob scored the second Try with another successful conversion by Yoriaki. This raised confidence of the
Crusaders, but we continued to play a deliberate game and kept with the working defense and
deliberate offensive phases. Dominic had an unfortunate fall inside our 20m line that threw his
shoulder out and took him off the field just after twenty minutes of play. Around thirty minutes
in, Brett scored the third Try, with another successful conversion by Yoriaki. Hugo followed it up with another try form mid-field which we didn’t convert. With the strategy working only two
players were rotated in at half time. Ten minutes into the latter half of the match Brett made his second Try with Yoriaki successful on the conversion. Matt made the next Try with David
following up a minute later with the Crusaders dominating possession of the ball. Suguru
successfully converted David’s Try and made a Try of his own less than ten minutes later that
Riley converted. Frank was vocal about concern we would still have a challenge to win at this
point but Matt would prove his concerns unfounded with the final try three minutes before the
final whistle at 16:17 that Jacob converted; leaving the Crusaders with a win of 66 to Swift\s 3
points.

Throughout the match the referee, Tadashi Suzuki was very fair with his calls and commented
on by the Crusaders as a well officiated match. With 9 penalties in the first half (only 3 against the Crusaders) and eight (4 against the Crusader) in the second, the game was played very well.

The Swift nominated Brett as the Crusaders MVP of the match and in turn, Katsuro Kitamura,
the Swift Captain was nominated as their MVP by the Crusaders. It was a hot long fight to win,
and Brett cautioned us that the challenge of the Shuto Leagu will only get tougher in the coming
months.

5-4-3-2-1s:
Mestre, Hugo 5
Beasley, Matt 4
Pentland-Smith, Brett 3
Matsumoto, Suguru 2
Sugimoto, Yoriaki 1

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