Beach Rugby On Saturday, 25th July a few Crusaders who clearly have no Air Con at home travelled out to Hiratsuka Beach for the annual Japan Beach Rugby tournament. The pre-tournament team meeting was held at the local 7-11 where emergency beers were purchased just in case we got dehydrated throughout the day. Beach Rugby is an interesting game with some unusual rules including 2 hand touch (which alot of Crusaders took as meaning “grope and fondle” when playing the all female team), 1 pass can throw forward, touchdowns instead of tries, dummy half can’t pass forward or get touched amongst many others. Of course we had forgotten all the rules since last year and we got together for our first game ready to play some touch rugby with Evan, a Mongolian IT worker and a drummer! 2 minutes before kick off we finally had a full compliment as Aiko our Team Medic and Shuto League Rep brought 3 friends with her, which thank goodness gave us a full team with only seconds to spare! Despite not knowing any of the rules we somehow held our own in the first half with Jeff and Bayasa making some good saves in defence. We still didn’t really know what to do when we had the ball so we reverted to Evan’s number one go-to plan of – “just catch it and run straight ya bastards!” – or his number two go-to plan, throw the ball anywhere without looking! That only worked so far and with a lapse in defence we ended up losing the game 1-0. The organisers kindly, or not kindly decided to then give the Crusaders a 4 hour break before the next game. The entire team was standing in formation, ready to go when they saw a gap open up and come 10:01 they were straight in there grabbing all the available tables and chairs as the beach bar opened for business! One cold beer to refresh in the hot summer heat, and then the plan was to watch loads of games of Beach Rugby happening in front of the bar, finally learn the rules and develop a winning strategy for the next game. So about 8 beers later, not having watched a second of rugby we were ready for our next game! And by 1300 it was hot as buggery, especially for anyone without socks – you could barely run in the sand, let alone stand flat footed as all Crusaders do! We needed a miracle – or two – and luckily for us they arrived in the shape of Dom and Pierre! Suddenly we had a game plan, which as always was “give the ball to Dom and Pierre!”. Those two did the business and soon the crowds were clambering around Court 5 for a view of the short, loud Australian running rings around the opposition. Well that’s how I saw it anyway! A few great tries to our two wingers saw us win the game, but exit the competition after the round-robin stage once again. A fun day out for all, rugby was definitely the winner – as was the Beach Bar who made a fortune! Thanks to Aiko and her friends for turning up to help us out, as well as Jeff and Bayasa. See you all next year to do it all again!