By: Brett Pentland-Smith Removing our braces With two 10’s tournaments kicking off our 2018-19 season, we thought it best that we have a friendly game of 15’s against an apt opponent – as discovered during the HUB 10’s just a week prior. Playing for the first time at the fantastic Tokyo Dental University grounds, and with hardly a cloud in the sky, it was shaping up to be a great game. The Cru pitched up with a good balance of old and new players as well as two 16 year old’s coming up from the Squires – the Crusaders’ very own junior team. Taking to the field for the warm ended up being a sweat fest as it was close to 30°C (approximately 2,307°F) with 100% humidity. The heat would ultimately be a huge contributing factor in the Crusaders demise. Cavity Check or Cavity Search? Ready for our 1st 15’s game of the season, we took to the field and were immediately put on the back foot by a very motivated and excitable Dental team. They moved the ball wide and quickly, trying to pry open some space in our defense. After about 10 minutes of play, the floodgates opened and a quick 2 or 3 trys saw the Cru looking somewhat disheveled. After some stern words at the water break, however, we came out firing and managed to touch down twice (one each for Max and Nabin) in quick succession to go into half time 19-12 down. The second half saw the Dental team come out with renewed vigor and once again, put us under pressure by scoring a quick try. The leadership group within the Cru put emphasis on adjusting one or two of the smaller things we were doing wrong as a team. With this focus, Dom was able to score another converted try and keep Dental within sniffing distance. Going into the last 10 minutes, unfortunately, saw the Cru run out of bench and shortly after, steam. Despite some desperate defense and some wonderful passages of play, we let another 2 trys through and ultimately went down 19-40. All was not lost, however, as we managed to blood a number of new players, try out some new combinations and teach a few new players the rules of the game. This set us up nicely for the beginning of the Shuto league. Furthermore, a good few beers were had down the road and the great camaraderie that is the Cru, continued to shine. The MVP points were awarded to: 5 – Dom 4 – Alex 3 – Max (Squire) 2 – Kosei (Squire) 1 – Brett Overall The Cru’ has great dental hygiene as well

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