By: Chris Pressdee-Rudd Gaijin War The Cru meet-up (‘rendez-Cru’?) at Inagi Station was a tense affair with the day’s opponents, Tokyo Gaijin, having their own meet-up (albeit without a genius pun name) mere yards away. The locals must have known something was about to go down too- rarely have so many foreigners been assembled with so few beers in attendance… Both sides made their way by taxi to the catchily-named Inagi Nagamine Verdy Field to prepare for battle. The Crusaders, clad in their exquisitely-tailored finery, cut through the adoring crowds like knives through butter. The sun shone, the sky was a shimmering blue, and the pitch was like a carpet rolled out before them. In fact, the pitch was a carpet, and many of us still have the burns to prove it. Between us, The Cru had more carpet burns than [insert name here]. Anyway, to the matter at hand. The Crusaders arrived knowing that their Shuto League fate was in their own hands- victory against Tokyo Gaijin, and 1st Place was a very real possibility. A well-balance first half saw Flyhalf Dom Sumner cross twice, with Yori converting once. Both teams enjoyed decent spells of possession and pressure and displayed some excellent defensive work in response. The second half saw changes across the pitch as The Crusaders utilised their greater numbers in an attempt to exhaust the opposition. However, mistakes and missed tackles crept in as the half wore on. Uncharacteristic handling errors from the usually faultless Crusaders gave the Gaijin too many chances to pass up, and despite errors of their own, they used these opportunities well and racked up the points. The final score of Crusaders 12- 26 Gaijin made sobering reading after a very winnable game. So, off we went. Quiet beers on the train back into the bright lights of the city told their own story. A frustrated and dispirited squad dispersed in their various directions, leaving only 6 to drown their sorrows at one of Tokyo’s premier drinking establishments. However, all is not lost. There are games to come. There are points to be won. We know that this League can throw up some unexpected results, so we know what we have to do. A real positive from the day was the size and quality of our squad, as well as the number of supporters present. As a Club, we need this to continue. The Crusaders will go again on November 11th against Koryo RFC, and no one is in any doubt about what we need to do. Opposition MVP Matt Sparrow and Brendan stole the hearts of the Gaijin and received the opposition MVP awards.

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