After a couple of years’ hiatus due to Covid, the Crusaders’ annual Tokyo Cup kicked off on 2022/05/15. The vast majority of the members even turned up on time! After the usual avalanche of paperwork to be filled in and complaining from Frank, we were kitted up and ready to go. Our opponent, Kurumi, had given us a glimpse of their abilities a few weeks previous in a friendly game of 10s but we still weren’t completely sure what to expect.

Given their historical status of being a very capable club, we knew that we could be in for a challenge. As it turned out, however, we needn’t have worried. It was only a scant 3 minutes into the match when Benji touched down in the corner, the first of many tries to be scored (and most in the corner, at that). It was only another five minutes until Brendan, wreaking havoc all day running the ball from the #8 position, added to the auspicious start of the game. This one was a little closer to the posts, however, allowing Jacob a better chance of slotting the conversion. And he did. 12-0 to the Cru.

The Kurumi defense stepped up just a bit after this, Causing the Cru to expend a full fifteen minutes before a bizarre (bizarre from the sideline’s perspective – turns out our scrum-half knew we were playing advantage) cross-kick nearly the width of the pitch ended in a lucky bounce that saw Dom touch down in the corner to add 5 to the score. Newcomer Sohei was very impressive on the wing, creating work for himself all day long with some brilliant runs.

This was finally rewarded in the twenty-third minute of the match, when he sprinted down the sideline for another try (in the corner). Nine minutes later fly-half Jacob dodged and weaved his way to a try, then converting said try himself. With a minute left in the half, Captain Reece later trundled over the line from a few meters out but, once again, the mark was a bit too far to the outside to make a conversion easy. So at halftime the score stood Crusaders 34, Kurumi 0. A fine start.

The scoring in the second half took a few minutes to get started but Paddy, while having a phenomenal day at ripping the ball from the opposition (at least 3 times), went over the line. This one was close enough for Jacob to easily convert.  41-0 to the Cru. Newcomer Sam, who had been so impressive on debut that I swear there were three of him out there, finally got his just rewards by touching down under the posts, and Jacob duly converted.

But that wasn’t enough for Sam, as he repeated the feat twelve minutes later, as did Jacob with his conversion. With only ten minutes to play the outcome of the match was clear, and emptying the benches of its subs (all three of them) saw debuts by Alex and Leon, both of whom had excellent first outings with the Cru. The match ended with Jacob completing a brace of tries, only to just barely miss the conversion. Final score 60 – 0 to the Cru.

Special thanks to all those who came down to support, both from an admin and morale perspective. It was also noteworthy that we had a total of 4 debuts on the day – Sam, Sohei, Alex and Leon. Long may you prosper with the Crusaders, boys.

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