by Glen Taylor Normally, the Crusaders take an easy fixture on the first weekend of December, as the final friendly of the year. But this year, the Cru still held onto the Shuto League title race the following week, and so they opted for a tough fixture against Tokyo No.1, Superman RFC. The last time that the Cru met Superman was back in the spring of 2014, after winning the Shuto league and progressing to the Champions’ Cup. Superman outran the Cru 48-5. While the Cru won Tokyo Cup Division 2 in the spring of 2016, Superman won Division 1 for the first time in their club history. On the same day, four Crusaders players were sent to the Shuto League representative team: Matt “Captain Jack” Sparrow, Joe “Thor” Flagler, Yuki “Yokozuna” Adachi, and Akihito “Japanese Hulk” Kashiwaba were all missing. By Thursday, we only had 10 players down to attend the match. The team called out for aid from afar. We thank all the helpers that came out to play: Sean’s mate Seun, John Anderson from All France, rugby league player Hiroshi, and Gaku and Mitsuyoshi from Gen’s high school OBs club. It was the Cru’s first time back on the Edogawa south side after construction. But there was no grass on the pitch: no green, all mud, except for some horrendous black wood left on the field. It might have embarrassed Ev Hitchman, affecting his line marking. He couldn’t get the centre-line straight. The crappy field condition made both teams knock the ball on many times, feeding both sides’ opportunities to practice scrums, and taking away any chances to score. A dozen scrummages ruled out our tighthead Hirokatsu, who had been engaged in drinking heavily at his friend’s wedding party the previous night. Superman scored a try at 20 mins, but the Cru answered with a try by Brett, neatly stealing the ball at the line-out. Half time: Cru 7 – 7 Superman. Despite the slippery condition, Owen, Tame and Jun organized the mid-field well, and often thrashed the opposition defensive line. Doug, at fullback, effectively gained meters by counter-attacking. Frank, Foster and Reece were being powerhouses as usual and making strong carries, with quick ball recycling from support by Gibbo and Chris. Travis came on at half time and made several storming runs, breaching the opposition 22m on occasion. However, our very own Keita, who has been selected for the national team’s 7s training squad, thrashed the Cru defensive line and helped Superman to win the game. He made a huge contribution to the Cru’s victory over the Gaijin some weeks ago, with four tries: now, he gave the same nightmare to us. According to Superman’s head coach, they were close to the 1st XV. Excepting the three tries from Keita in the 2nd half, the Cru fought evenly against the Tokyo no. 1. The Cru will have the chance to meet Superman twice again, in the Champions’ Cup and the Tokyo Cup. It will be exciting to see how the two teams clash when they go head-to-head with their top squads. It was still a mystery why we found the double-ended black dildo on the riverside. Presumably, it was from the college lacrosse girls who were on the field before us? Anyway, the dildo has been respectuflly added to the Cru kit bag, along with several pink golf balls. Final Score: Cru 7 – 26 Superman MVP Points: 5 – Brett; 4 – Reece; 3 – Trav; 2 – Owen/Tame; 1 – Foster Gibbo about to burst into ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ 15384529_1522236041138330_9103923169246324988_o 15391245_1523298974365370_7349905853219056747_o Eat it, Keita 15289246_1522235711138363_6995123890032429020_o

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