Tokyo Crusaders vs. Fevers RFC 30-30 (D)
by Gareth “Gaz” Lim

On a sunny blue-skied Saturday in February the CRU took to the field to face off against the Fevers RFC at Fortress Yokogawa where we had overcome the Shuto League Div. 1 topping Olivers RFC earlier in the season. Naturally spirits were high, and even without the mercurial duo of Dixon and Ball, the 7 or so CRU faithful (that had signed up for the game on Doodle) would surely be able to handle a Fevers team, more famous for their “pink pensioner shorts.” The CRU were riding wins off All France, and All Jin Jan, confidence was good.

With Tooley and Evan trading roles for this game, Evan was left to manage the clipboard and keep us in order. The first half began as a nervous encounter with both teams giving away silly penalties and looking to find their stride – expansive rugby it was not. Seth broke the deadlock on 10 minutes with a powerful charge beating 2 defenders and running in from 20 yards. Tooley looked destined to score on 17 minutes but somehow his try proved elusive…… An inspired move nonetheless which was followed by tries from new boy Lazario and Jordan, both running in from around the 20 yard mark. Fevers pulled one back just before half time to bring the scores to 15-5 at the break.

Wholesale changes for the 2nd half bought several guys in who were playing their first 15’s game and the most number of Navy guys that I’ve ever seen in a CRU shirt. By now the light was fading but Benji’s pink fluorescent socks (and the stadium lights) brightened things up. Fevers came back stronger in the 2nd half, their No. 8, (cunningly wearing a No. 5 shirt) continued to be a thorn in our side with darting runs into our defence. With the 3 and 4 CRU players needed to bring him down, our back line became vulnerable and Fevers fought back with 3 tries in 10 minutes. Thankfully Sean Gibson seemed to be inspired by a rare chance to take on players older than himself. He rolled back the years, running in one try from a 15 yard scrum 10 minutes into the half and cleverly intercepting from 30-40 yards to jog in his 2nd of the game, exactly 20 minutes later. New boy Eric Guzman, inspired by his team The Baltimore Ravens, was not to be outdone and combined his first ever touch of a rugby ball with a text book hand-off, releasing himself to sprint in for his “touch down”!

30-25 to the CRU with 7 minutes remaining, was a nail-biting finish coming? Despite some dogged defending, in one of the last moves of the game, the Fevers, again led by their No 8. pulled one back to level off at 30-30. It was a fitting score-line where there were no winners or losers and rugby triumphed. The after-match function was held at the FukufukuYa Izakaya in Mitaka. A dozen or so of the Cru were present, including a couple of the ladies. Six of us ended up in a pokey wee bar with four of the Fevers until 10:30ish.

Special mention to new boys Diyor Madaminov (who looks certain to be fast-tracked into the Uzbek national squad), Mason Beninger and Eric Guzman, plus all the Navy boys who came down. Well done to the Fevers who provided us with a lesson on winning opposition ball at ruck time and some other aspects of the game. However the biggest lesson of the day??? ……..You are never too old to play rugby.

Player’s Men of the Match:
1st – Sean Gibson
2nd – Yutaka Baggins
3rd – Seth and Benji

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