by Sean Gibson The 2020-2021 Cru season was off to flying start but we knew we had one major hurdle to overcome before we could feel optimistic about our chances at the Shuto League gold – our perennial bogeyman All Jinjan. This is a team who is always unpredictable, mostly in ways detrimental to our record, so everyone was on pins and needles in anticipating this matchup. Things were off to a good start when Monsieur Hugo touched the ball down over the line only three minutes into the match, and Jacob added two more points with his trusty boot. However, those of us with bad memories of playing All Jinjan in the past were getting more nervous when All Jinjan copied our lead and scored a converted try only three minutes later. A fierce back and forth ensued for the next eight minutes before we were on top again thanks to a try by Brendan and Monsieur Hugo adding another two tries, only two minutes apart, to complete his hat trick. Jacob did what he does for each of those tries and left the score 28-7 at halftime. Despite a well-earned lead, the Cru were not done just yet. A try by Paddy in the opening couple of minutes of the second half gave us a somewhat comfortable cushion over an opposition who showed no sign of giving up. But the old All Jinjan that we know (and fear) showed their capabilities. It took more than 10 minutes to accomplish but AJJ narrowed their lead with some impressive handling and speed and they did it again six minutes later to bring the score to 33-21 with 15 minutes to play. Given the grit and determination with which they had played every minute of the match so far, we knew the possibility of falling behind was distinctly real. And then, five minutes later, something magical happened – the Cru scored 4 tries in relatively quick succession. First came Ken, ever the star. Breifne’s turn came next, followed by Reece. Then Breifne scored yet again at the dying minute. Jacob converted all four of those to bring the final score to an impressive 61-21, opening the path to Shuto League gold. We celebrated our victory in a park next door with conbini beers and loads of pizzas shipped in by Monsieur Hugo (Thanks, Hugo!). A very enjoyable and fitting end to a day of exciting rugby.

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