by Reece Morgan,
Eight thirty on a Sunday morning; Misato-chuo station; heat and humidity; 10s. It’s safe to say that no part of the first Crusaders outing of the season commended itself to the squad, but the rugby-starved pack of heroes rocked up nonetheless. After all, today was the inaugural Cru 10s tournament — we could hardly make a poor show of things. Cru goblin Tooley had already stolen his way down to the pitch in the wee hours to set up the tent, and with Daenkai and Mitaka All-comers arriving not long after the boys in blue, Sunday was all set to be a rugby day.
Opening festivities, the Crusaders faced-off against a rough-and-ready Daienkai squad. After five minutes of set-tos, alabaster Benji raced his way past the opposition winger for the first try of the day, with scrum-half Masa slotting it between the uprights. Some fantastic interplay between Masa and fly-half Sohei saw the Cru make numerous inroads towards the posts, only for the pack to find themselves five metres from the try line without their scrummie. No matter! Responding to his barbaric yawl, Nestor slung the ball far out into prop Leon’s waiting hands (yes, really), with a thunderous charge scattering the opposition like bowling pins for the second try.
Not to be outdone, lock Kurt crashed again and again into the sea of green shirts, with a fresh-from-injury Dom carving through the line for a third. Ultimately, Daienkai could do little against the onslaught: Brendan’s rampaging runs and some strong support from Taichi set up excellent platforms for Masa, new boy Graeme (scoring and immediately going off injured, in true Cru style), and Sohei to net three more. At 33-0, the final whistle blew, and the boys were granted some respite.
Thankfully, the gap between matches offered more excitement than simply being able to watch the other two teams play. Noted hottie Brendan’s mum found herself on the end of some solid chirpsing by Taichi; topless Frank laid some game down on Kurt’s lovely lady in the manner of a dad talking to his daughter’s friends, and Sparrow broke out his best Travolta impression. Not even the heat could dampen the squad’s spirits.
Soon, Mitaka All-comers summoned the boys in (lighter) blue, and the second game kicked off. The ball went high; Kurt whipped it to Masa, and from there to Sohei, and the first try came in under a minute. Fuming at this, the physical Mitaka side rebuffed a new Cru offensive, with their oversized hooker’s deft hands opening up the back line — and setting up the first try against the Cru that day. A second and third soon followed in quick succession, both down to sloppy handling on the Cru’s part. Thankfully, the first scrum of the game saw the smile neatly wiped off the guests’ faces, as Captain Morgan successfully hooked against the head, leaving the Mitaka backline scrambling against a rampaging Sohei. Some subsequent hard lines from oooof!-inducing Leon and rugby-league-style shoulders to the jaw secured the second Cru try.
Although Mitaka tried to respond hard from the base of each ruck, new lock Tomo shut them down again and again, with the Cru able to net a third try as Masa slipped through the increasingly exhausted line. A botched kick-off allowed Mitaka to score once again, but the relentless Brendan Gallagher bounced boys off for a fourth Cru try; a final slice through from Dom, in which his opposite man apparently forgot how to tackle, brought it to 29-24 for the Cru as the final whistle blew.
Not ready to call it a day, the Cru then faced a barbarian squad made of the other two teams. The aforementioned oversized hooker found himself roundly booted out of the game by Alex, who hunted the monster down off the back of every ruck; Reece hooked more scrums against the head, with some Benji-Brendan interplay allowing the former to slip down the wing for a try. Out of his preferred position, Taichi kept the wings locked down, with only a lucky break allowing the Ba-bas to get back into contention. Sohei continued to marshal from the centre, gaining a second Cru try, with the opposition netting one back at the closing whistle. Ultimately, no-one had any idea who won, nor really cared; it was later established that missed kicks meant a 12-10 loss for the Cru. Nonetheless, the boys in blue had won their own tournament, meaning that it was time to celebrate.
…unfortunately, the heat and lack of water had taken their toll, and it was a notably gentler session than perhaps anticipated. Nonetheless — a great day for Tokyo rugby; a great inaugural tournament, and a great start to the season.
321s were as follows:
5 – Sohei
4 – Masa
3 – Dom
2 – Benji
1 – Leon