A Great Result For The Shuto league! New Zealand Ambassador’s Cup – 25th Anniversary On the 3rd of December 2017, the Shuto League had its annual representative matches against the Santama League: the New Zealand Ambassador’s Cup. It was a beautiful Autumn day, and the Cru had players in all three games. The day started off with ‘the Seniors’. Club stalwart, Seth Robson, was involved in this game and gave a sterling performance. However, despite his best efforts, the team lost for the first time in ten years, with the opposition Santama League running in 4 unanswered tries towards the end of the match. Final score 24 – 43 Next up was the League representative ‘B team’. We had two players, Yuuki Adachi in the front row and Dominic Sumner featuring in the centres. This match was played to the game-plan, with the players gaining more and more confidence as the game progressed. The half-time talk was a little difficult, however, as the players were more intent on watching the Samba dancers than listening to what anybody had to say! In spite of that, concentration levels did return to the task at hand, and the players really ‘hit their straps’ in the second half. The coach was so confident that the game was in the bag with 20 minutes to go that he cleared the bench and started to head into the locker room to prepare for the next game. When asked by his assistant what he should do while he was left on the sideline, the coach replied, “Just watch them win !” Final score 41 – 27 At this point, the New Zealand Ambassador made his speech, and the stadium was treated to a stirring performance of a haka by three New Zealand Maori lads. Finally, the Shuto League Representative Team vs. the Santama League Representative Team. In other words, ‘the A game’. Brett Pentland-Smith, the Team Captain of the Cru, was to come off the bench in the second half and change the run of the game. He was down to play Back Row but came on as Lock and made an immediate impact. Santama played their usual game but Shuto absorbed the pressure and bided their time. The first-half defense was awesome, and helped to keep the opposition in check. It was a bit of a see-saw game, or an arm wrestle, if you will, but Shuto kept it’s composure and started to up the pace. An intercept and run-away try by our No.13 just before the break took a bit of wind out of their sails, and put us back in contention. According to plan, the pace of the game in the second half had Santama’s ‘big boys’ running out of steam, and ideas. As the mistakes piled on for them, the Shuto got adventurous, being rewarded with a stunning try, courtesy of a huge cut-out pass from the Inside Centre to a Wing on the fly. No-one put a hand on him, and at that moment, the game was won. With the oppsition trying to play catch-up rugby and starting to tire, and the Shuto keeping on the attack, 10 minutes from the end,…. the result was never in doubt. A hard-fought win to the Shuto and a great game of rugby. Final score 36 – 30 Players and officials from both leagues retired to the restaurant up the hill for the usual toasts, beers, and presentations, with the Chief Selector and Coach of the Shuto A and B teams, our very own Tooley, feeling a very deep sense of happiness and satisfaction. The beers tasted just that wee bit ‘sweeter’.