Here’s a bunch more photos if you’re interested.
Tokyo Crusaders vs Okinawa Beach Boys
Match Report 31.10.15
By Ed Downer
The Tokyo Crusaders had their return game against the Okinawa Beachboys. We knew it would be a physically demanding game, but at least most of the Cru wouldn’t be as hung-over as the last match against the Beachboys.
Numbers were short for both sides and after warming up, thinking we would play some 10’s, we had a few late arrivals and spotted Edoryu RFC training next to the pitch. After sending some envoys over (including Andy for some reason), we had 5 extra players and were able to play 14’s with 30-minute halves.
We lent the Beach boys Seth Robson & Gen Hirano, something we would later regret doing! We had 3 players making their debut for the Cru, Mathew Foster, Edward Downer & Hiro Kondo.
The game had a strong start from the Beachboys but our forwards were too much for them in the scrum, winning the first 5 or so scrums against the head and driving them back a good few meters. A great effort from the forwards. Andy got an early try from a good break with the forwards. 5-0 to the Cru.
5 minutes later, the Beachboys countered from a stupid kick from Ed Downer and ran it in for a try 5-5.
Their backs were not as comfortable when they got the ball, and a few quick rushes gave the Cru a few turnovers but we were not able to turn these into points.
In open play, Seth (the traitor) made a few good rip and steals and gave the Beachboys a few turnovers in good field position. 5 minutes after their last try, the Beachboys broke through again and bagged a second try by Yujin (Edoryu RFC ringer). They missed both of their conversions so the match was at 10-5 to the Beachboys.
Dom and Pierre had some great runs and broke the line of defence with almost every run. Eventually, this turned into points for the Cru with a darting, side-stepping, in-and-out run from Dom, who took it over the line to bring it level at 10 all.
The forwards put up a great battle at the front and were setting over the rucks well. This gave the Cru lots of possession, and if it weren’t for the pesky Seth Robson, we might have got a few more points before half time. The Beachboys were testing the back 2 (no fullback) and we did well to get back and recover, but from open play the Beachboys ran around the outside with a quick run from their winger to put them up 15-10 at half time.
The half-time talk consisted of some heavy breathing, and a reassuring of the lads that we need to keep doing what we were doing, keep it tight in the forwards and then get it to our speed demons (Dom & Pierre) at the right time and the match is ours.
Tooley must have said something right ‘cause we came out of the blocks hard, and a few big runs from Matthew Foster and good work from the forwards gave us good field position where Dom, with a jingle and a jangle, cruised over the line for his second try. Unfortunately Andy didn’t convert this try, either… but 15-15, GAME ON!
We received the kick and kept possession, and worked our way back up the field. The Beachboys gave away a penalty right in front of the posts and Andy had the ball in hand ready to give it to the forwards to smash over the line. I am told it is quite rare for Andy to have such vision but he had a look wide left and saw Ed Downer had only one man to beat. He took the tap did a big looping pass, and Ed went over for his first try for the Cru. Andy’s brilliance ended there as he missed the conversion. 20-15 to the Cru.
Our lineouts were letting us down a bit and we gave away a fair bit of possession from turnovers and knock-ons. Their scrum had strengthened, so we weren’t winning much against the head, either. The last 15 minutes of the game was a big effort from everyone, lots of big hits and carries from Reese, Eric and Matty Foster. We made a break from within their half and Eric made it over the line but it was deemed that he had lost the ball before grounding it. Anyone who knows Eric can guess that he wasn’t a happy chappy after that. The Beachboys kicked the ball out of their half but we lost it in a lineout and they had possession back. We then forced a turnover from a ruck but then gave a silly penalty away in the middle of the pitch just inside our half. With 1 minute to go, Seth decided to take a quick tap and put all of the Cru offside, this bald kiwi ran 40 meters to score under the posts and tie the game at 20-20. And of course, to add insult to injury the Beachboys converted the try to win the game 22-20. We all felt the same after the game, SETH, YOU BLOODY TRAITOR!
In summary it was a good hit out with all the Cru playing the full 60 minutes. Special praise to Matthew Foster on his debut who went down a few times with an injury but got back up (not that we had any subs anyway) and Dom and Pierre in the centers who chased the kicks and put some rush defense pressure on the Beachboys. Good scrumming, rucking and carrying from all the forwards, but lineouts need a bit of work.
We then headed to an Izakaya close to the pitch for a bit of grub and beers with the Okinawa boys. Later, we met up in Roppongi for the RWC Final, where most of us (except Captain Cocks) were looking mean in our Halloween costumes. Some of us kicked on from there and the rest of the night was a bit of a blur! That is all we need to say about that!!
Our vote for the opposition MVP went to their No. 13 – Mr. Tetsuro Akita
The Okinawa boys voted our No. 12 – Dominique Adams for MVP
5 points – Pierre Simms
4 points – Mathew Foster
3 points – Dominique Adams/Eric Wilkinson
2 points – X,
1 point – Edward Downer/Andrew Coday.