Tokyo Crusaders vs. Quill RFC 25-15 (W)
by Sean Whaley

Considering that I have only recently been added to the mailing list and therefore only read a handful of match reports, you will have to forgive me for omitting any recurring themes or CRU “staples”. Let’s get to it…

Sunday the 3rd turned out to be a GREAT day for rugby. A motley crew of haggard hungover gents showed up at Koiwa for training with the promise of a match.

Tooley expertly collected the eclectic collection and herded us into waiting cabs, following on his state-of-the-art 2-wheeler. Upon arriving at Edogawa we found a very fit-looking club using the ground, and began to question our decision to turn up on a Sunday for rugby. It turned out to be an Aussie Rules club which captivated Evan Kerr for the better part of 5 minutes. It was then time for a warm up led by our affable manager. After a session of stretches that was more “Disney’s Wide World of Sports” than the pre-match rituals from Twickenham or Auckland we were ready for the dynamic drills. Some of the CRU (myself included) needed a lengthy water break in between the 1 hour “warm up” and touch. Needless to say, both teams were sufficiently warm at the start of touch rugby.

*Author’s note: To dispel any ambiguity I will affectionately refer to Sean Gehrold as “Ginger” from here on out.

The big take-aways from touch rugby were: 1. Ginger enjoys playing against the CRU a little too much, and 2. We need to work on our ball skills and communication, especially on defense (not revelations, just felt the need to reiterate).

7s, or 8s (which is what we ended up playing), started promptly at 15:23 following a short brief from Ginger (the only CRU member on the day with 7s experience) on the subtleties of the game. 7 min. halves with a 3 min. break was the format for the afternoon. Conversions were not tallied.

There was a 5 minute period of feeling-out before Quill drew first blood at 15:28 following a lengthy run by their #9. We were able to even the score right before half time after Ginger enthusiastically instructed the side that “EVERYONE IS A SCRUM HALF !”. I pulled the ball out of a ruck 30 meters out and ran it in down the left touch line.

We started the second half off at 15:33 with a try in that same minute by myself; running it up the middle of the field on a great outlet pass from Ginger. Quill however responded with a try of their own 2 minutes later due to some sub-par tackling and poor communication on our part. Danny Brown responded with a beauty try turning an ordinary outlet into a foot race, out-running the entire Quill side for 3 quarters of the field. Quill had different plans though, tying up the score right as time expired on the 2nd half.

Not wanting to end in a tie again we petitioned Quill for another half. Evan Kerr gave us the lead shortly after the start of the final period on a spirited run up the left touch line, leaving Quill in his wake as he took it in. A try he would not let Ginger forget for the remainder of the day. Aside from the long tries, this was a very physical game of 7s and this was working in our favor for the final seven minutes. I added the final try as both sides were spent, running it the length of the field from inside our own 22.

Worth mentioning are a number of punishing runs from Frank and Alex, more aggressive play from Bolun in defense. Koki turned in a solid match on both sides of the ball, displaying his versatility at scrum half for the final period. Naoto Nicol made his CRU debut. The after-match function was held at the Warawara Izakaya in Koiwa. There were 7 CRU in attendance with 4 players from the opposition.

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