by Sean Gibson Warm(ish), sunny weather greeted 24 Crusaders, their 6 supporters and Setagaya RFC on the afternoon of Sunday, February 28th for, what has been over the past few years, a friendly but close-fought contest between the two sides. Things got off to a shaky start in the first few minutes when a few basic handling errors afforded Setagaya the opportunity to punish said offenses with a try within two minutes. It took the Cru a few more minutes to find their rhythm but, when they did so, there was no looking back. After the Cru’s initial try from Sebastian Forestiere (and what would go on to be the first of three from him) 8 minutes in, the Crusaders would fall into a pattern of scoring a try every 6 minutes, on average, while holding the opposition to 20. It was one of the most notable performances in recent history, with the forwards wreaking havoc in the middle before giving it up to the backs, thereafter featuring some brilliant linkage from our South American contingent (Lucas and Sebastian) and continuing through the hands of a number of players for several 60-meter+ tries. As mentioned, Sebastian scored a hat trick, whilst Matt Sparrow and Seth Robson scored two each. Also scoring tries were the mystery man (his first ever), Matt Foster, Jon Ball (his second in as many games), Reece Morgan and Alex Herrera. There were also quite a few debuts on the day: Andrew Burton (unfortunately injuring himself in the first five minutes – take care, Andy), Hirokatsu Mori (also injured early on – come back soon, Hiro), Yuichiro Takahashi, Ryota Kano, Yuma Matsuda, Paul Martingell, Kei Takakura, Alex Sigler and Mizuki Tani. Hopefully we’ll see more of these guys in the future, as all contributed greatly to the victory. Final score: Crusaders RFC 69, Setagaya RFC 20. After the match it was on to the local Okonomiyaki restaurant for beers and a feed for about 18 of us, including 4 of the Setagaya boys. There, the MVP awards were given out, with Matt Foster taking the top spot with 5 points (again) after several storming runs, some brilliant passing and crunching tackles; new boy Ryota Kano taking away 4 points with a near textbook-perfect performance at scrumhalf; Reece Morgan earning 3 points with an always-solid performance on both attack and defense, Matt Sparrow with two points for converting most of his kicks (7 of 11), storming runs and warming up in a Pikachu costume; and Moses Nasegesege for providing solid support, some great runs and key tackles. The sanjikai was a few road beers on the train and a solo mission to a Hub (though I won’t say who that was.) It should be noted that Reece and Matt Sparrow played the full game (70 minutes) after having attended Cocksy’s stag party the previous evening. That said, Matt stayed out all night, whereas Reece left early to watch Peter Pan over a cuddle, despite my efforts to arrange something more interesting. Travis wasn’t at the match because he is a tosser. All in all a great day out for the team. It will hopefully bode well for our upcoming matches again the Chiba and Saitama champions. Hope to see you all there.