Tokyo Crusaders vs. Matsudo Club RFC (33-29, W)
by Andy Howard

There once was a rugby team from Tokyo
Who loved beer and girls and what-have-you
They went on the piss
Dressed as William Wallace
And still won 10 games in a row!

(Anon)

Arrived at Edogawa riverside ground in gale force winds nearly an hour before the game to find a herd of rugby players warming-up. With traditionally low Cru expectations I assumed this was the opposition. Blimey, were we playing another gaijin team? Imagine the shock dear reader on realising this was 25+ of the Cru’s finest – on time, booted and shorted and looking like rugby players. Had the Cru landed a lucrative sponsorship deal, the squad turned pro and Tooley forgotten to tell (and pay) me? Were they on a promise of free beer in the after-match izakaya? Along with fairies and crop circles this goes into the annals of the unexplained. Although woefully outnumbered the opposition were also out on the pitch and running some disturbingly good moves without dropping the ball. Game on!

Playing into the wind in the first half the Cru were up against it from the kick-off. Matsudo made some initial strong runs and were impressive at the breakdown. In the conditions, scrums were a common feature and facing a front row of mini sumo wrestlers the Cru pack could feel the pressure. Matsudo opened the scoring with a try after 10 minutes following some missed tackles from the Cru. Another try followed shortly after and with both converted the Cru were down 14-0. But as things started to look bleak the Cru started to show some attacking potential of their own and the thunderous Sean Whaley crashed through for a try. With the conversion the half time score stood at 7-17 – an excellent performance from the first half team to stay within 10 points against the wind.

On came the second half Cru team playing with the wind. A beefed-up front row of Mo Joy playing his final game for the Cru, Yutaka “Baggins” Yuzawa and young debutant Dylan Kessler would make life difficult for the opposition. Other welcome new faces for the Cru were Jon King and Devan Lewis.

Despite Matsudo scoring an early try the Cru started to play a more forceful running game. Good work at the breakdown and strong support play paid dividends as the Matsudo try line was crossed four times in the space of 15 minutes – Beau Brodman scoring twice, Sean Whaley making it a brace and man of the match Travis Dixon predictably adding another to his season’s tally. Importantly, Evan managed to add all the available extras from the boot. Matsudo mounted a late fightback and added a late converted try to bring the margin to just 4 points but the Cru held out to win a hard fought game 33-29.

A classy after-match function was held in the car park of the local Seven Eleven under the watchful eye of a nervous store manager. The hardcore then went on to Warawara izakaya in Koiwa, presumably for their Sunday tea.
– – THE END.

Players Men of the Match:
1st – Travis
2nd – Beau
3rd – Skurry / Sean Whaley

[flickr_highslide set=”vs_Matsudo”]

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