By Sam Catling,

This Sunday (25th June) saw the last game of what has been a very stop/start season take
place, with it also being the final game of Reece’s venerable tenure as Captain.

The Boys were keen to send Reece off with a bang and were certainly helped by the lovely
grass pitch which only encouraged the Cru’s newfound expansive playing style (although
this was somewhat hindered by the boiling hot temperatures of Tokyo in June).

Our opponents, Urayasu Beers, turned up with a sizeable pack which meant the Cru were
outsized upfront for the first time in years, however from Kick off the Cru fronted up and
were able to get outside our larger opponents at will. Unfortunately, the hot temperatures
and sore heads of some of the backs meant at least 3 chances were squandered by poor

The Cru finally found some rhythm in the latter part of the first half and some nice offloads
and handling led to an Antione Azoulay try under the posts. However, our opponents fought
back strongly and after a sustained pressure on the Cru line managed to barge their way
over to take the score to 7-5. This remained the score until halftime as neither side could
get any momentum going.

After some strong words from Reece and Rob on taking our chances and ‘earning the right
to go wide’, the Cru wanted to make an early impact. Unfortunately, a penalty from the kick
off saw Urayasu have an attacking line out in the Cru 22. Good pressure from Rob at the
compete led to an overthrow that was snatched up by Sam who broke through and
executed a simple 2 on 1 to put Rob through under the sticks.

This was somewhat of a watershed moment as the Cru started executing on the gameplan
– strong carries from the pack up the middle allowed the backs to find space out wide.
Sohei moved to 10 and some great running rugby led to a quick succession of tries from
Jaime x2 and Drew.

The momentum was continued by a strong defensive rip from Takuto on his opposite
number which was succeeded by a number of offloads, with Sam eventually crossing under
the sticks.

As the sun beat down both teams were tiring, but some good defensive work by the pack,
followed by yet more offloads saw Paddy score on his long-awaited return (despite an
apparent sore back). Finally, with time into the red, Cru won a turnover and Drew was
instructed to kick it out. Against the wishes of some of the more tired players he put a chip
over the top (Captain Reece yelled ‘wrong way you idiot’), however was able to gather the
ball back and sprint the length of the field to cap a wonderful afternoon.

A great game to celebrate Reece’s years in charge and hopefully a step towards an
exciting Shuto league season of expansive running rugby.

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