Match Report from Team Manager Stewart Henwood

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25th Anniversary Game

On Saturday, the 6th of June, a group greying (or balding) rugby ‘lads’ met at 11:00am at Tatsumi Station. With nervous anticipation, or shall I say, trepidation, they were contemplating the game ahead. Some of the ‘lads’ had not played in quite awhile….
Not to worry, we had a blast!

The fixture was against one of our favourite teams, the Fevers RFC, who had themselves assembled a motley bunch of Old Boys, not too dissimilar to us. The ground was the beautiful grass pitch at Tatsumi, and the weather was, well… superb. In fact, Tooley said that if he were to play in the original Cru jersey that he was wearing for the warm-up, he would probably keel over with heat stroke. However did they play rugby on that first tour to Manila in those heavy old things… long sleeves, too!

The prematch meeting was all smiles, as both teams made note of the fact that the game was for laughs, and that we were there to have fun, not go home in an ‘ambulance’, or make use of the Clubhouse AED. The game kicked off at 12:40 with 11 Cru Old-Timers and 8 young wipper-snappers to help out, including 2 who were playing in their first games of rugby! There were also a few ‘youngies’ from the Fevers’ side who were looking for game time, so we took 5 of them in our team. The first half had everyone playing in their preferred positions, which caused the game to be played in a rather serious fashion, even though players were being subbed on and off at will, or according to their (lack of) fitness levels. The half saw us score 4 tries to the Fevers’ 2, with one try of note being Yusei’s first ever try for the Cru.

In the second half we decided to up the fun stakes and made the forwards play in the backs and the backs play in the forwards.
Our interesting starting backs lineup was 9-Kenji, 10-Yusei, 12-Sean, 13-Jonas, two props on the wing- Christain and Ryuji, and Richard at Fullback. The forwards had Wyn as a prop, Gareth and Steve as locks and John as No. 8; no push scrums, obviously. Surprisingly, everyone played well in their ‘new’ positions and it wasn’t the comedic debacle we had hoped it was going to be. The Cru scored another 3 tries and I think the opposition may have scored 1 or 2 more. No-one was really keeping score; not even the Ref, who from time to time also joined in the spirit of the game by getting in the way of, or even tackling, the ‘run-away’ try scorers. Thanks, Kaneda San.

Looking at the photograph of the team under the post with the front row wearing old jerseys, the players were :
Front row from the left : Stewart Henwood, Kiyoshi Ito, Richard Waddington, Derek Simmons, Sean Gibson, Ryuji Matsuzawa, Gareth Lim, John Gorman, Christian Carillo, Andy Howard, Jonas Hult, (Paul Maoate absent from photo)
Back row from the left : Mohamed Alwageeh, Arya Popli, Steve Howden, Wyn Hughes, Kenji Sugawara, Rei Morimitsu, Yusei Shimoda, Gen Hirano
There were a few other local Cru OBs who couldn’t make it due to family commitments, or as we say in NZ, ” thumbprint on the forehead”.

All in all, it was a great afternoon out, with the game played in a real ‘rugby-is-the-winner’ spirit. After hot showers, we all retired to the Danmayasuisan Izakaya in Tsukushima, where we spent the next couple of hours trying to demolish a 2-hour nomihodai with the opposition. From there it was onto the Budweiser Bar in Shimbashi, with Yamazaki San from the opposition leading the way. I’m not sure about that bar…. there’s something strangely decadent about having cute girls dressed in mini dresses, singing cute ditties and wiggling their bottoms while squeezing the juice out of fruit for our Grapefruit Sours; not to mention smashing boiled eggs on our foreheads!

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