by Reece Morgan
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March 12th was a classic Japanese spring day: a gentle breeze rolled softly across the field, while the sun shone brilliantly overhead. What a perfect day to play the sport of kings.

As a good portion of the Crusaders had injuries that required rest for the Champions’ Cup final, the one-man committee decided to turn it into a practice session, with both sides able to work on their weaknesses against proper opposition. What could go wrong?

It turns out that Saturday’s ‘quiet lager or two’ had turned into ‘a Dynamite Kid for the road’ before descending into ‘nothing can go wrong with these inappropriate texts’. With Foster and Corey sleeping on a park bench somewhere, Joe in Roppongi’s clutches and Frank…well, being Frank, the squad was depleted even further. Luckily, several brave souls made the trip, despite their hangovers: Downer, freshly resurrected from a porn coma; Reece, delighting Japan’s MILF demographic with the ‘exploding kitten’ hoodie; even Sparrow made the journey, his sorrows over his ill-fitting new boots sufficiently drowned. With ten men, most of whom were over the legal limit, we made our way to the field, where Downer was promptly chu’d. The punishment then began.

With Toda bringing big numbers and energy to the pitch, it’s safe to say that they were dismayed at the shit-fest we offered. Opting for a ‘hold-tackle’ 10s fixture of three halves(?), the Crusaders tried out an incredible new tactic: props and scrum-halves changed places; Gibbo donned the mantle of full-back and, rather than using excellent hands and moves to make our way to the try line, we just got Cocksy to lob it halfway across the pitch with his shovel hands. It might be worth mentioning that possession was very clearly 90%-10% in Toda’s favour, with an inability to handle, pass, run or even breathe holding back the formidable Cru opposition. The final score was something triple-figured for Toda, with a solitary try to save face for the Crusaders.

Luckily, Toda were very gracious and are keen to have a ‘proper’ 15s game later on in the season. We look forward to actually providing them with a test.

Soon after, the Cru moved over to their favourite sport of mid-afternoon alcoholism. The positives in this area were far more numerous than those in the match: Cocks and Menno succesfully rolled a condom over Jerry’s head; standards ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ and ‘Piano Man’ were crooned entirely out-of-key, and we played the toothpick game again.

LVP (least valuable players) were chosen, entirely arbitrarily, as follows:

-1: Sparrow, with yet another incredible backwards kick
-2: Aurelien, wearing French shorts
-3: Menno, for being sober
-4: Jerry, having the audacity to score a try
-5: Ed ‘Trundler’ Downer, for offering the same level of play as he did against Seoul Survivors on tour

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