We set out on an overcast morning for our annual battle with All Jin Jan on Sunday, November 22. By Monday we had made it to the pitch in Saitama. I’m exaggerating but the pitch was really far away. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we only managed to muster a skeleton squad for such an important matchup.
But those of us who made the effort were rewarded with a beautiful grass pitch, ample parking (for those who drove), hot showers and even a massage room. Sadly, that was perhaps the highlight of the day, as our opponents turned out to be far more determined than we were. Compared to our bench of 3, they had closer to 2 teams, many of whom appeared to be university players. This had its effect in the opening ten minutes of the match, with our opponents scoring two tries in quick succession.
Not long after, Captain Reece gave us an impressive pushover try from a 5-meter lineout to provide what would end up being our only 5 points of the game. Yes, the youth and numbers of the All Jin Jan squad proved too much to handle for our smaller squad of…ummm…wiser players. Though we managed to hold All Jin Jan to just two more tries in the first half, the flood gates opened wide in the second half. Fitness (or lack of, as the case may be), injuries and two nearly-simultaneous yellow cards on behalf of the Cru created a landslide of tries for the men in purple.
There was a great deal of heroic individual effort by several players but at the final whistle All Jin Jan had a deserved 67-5 win on their hands. Thank you to all the players who made the tremendous journey out to Saitama and to Leah for helping out on the sidelines. 3-2-1s were:
5 points: Sam
4 points: Tamiana
3 points: Connor
2 points: Tomo
1 point: Taro