2018/01/13 For the last game of the Shuto league, Tokyo Crusaders were to face Tokyo Doctors at Koryo University. As always for the Shuto League games, it was a great turn out, helped in part by the clear blue skies. Crusaders went through their normal pre-match routine; the forwards doing line out practice, the backs running set piece moves, and everyone wondering whether or not Dom would turn up at the correct ground. Eventually he did, and the game got underway. We normally know what we are getting from Doctors; a well drilled, disciplined and fast moving team. The Doctors also seemed to know what they`d be getting from us that day as well; large, straight running ball carriers. The first half was a close run thing, there was good defending in patches but on the whole both teams were guilty of tackling higher than they should which allowed for line breaks by the Doctors centres and the Crusaders forwards, in particular Yuki who was eating up the yards. The Doctors were slightly up at half time although during the second half was when the Christmas-induced lack of fitness started to take it`s toll on the Crusaders. We were slow getting to rucks, and alongside the excellent jackling play from the Doctors meant that it was difficult for the Cru to put together the phases. The game had stayed close through the first half but at around the 50 minute mark, the Doctors pulled away with 3 quick tries – the crusaders defence finally giving way. From then on, the game was effectively gone, although a couple of late tries from Crusaders made the scoreline a little more respectable at 38-50. Yuki deservedly took the MVP award, thanks to his destructive running but on the whole we were disappointed not to have finished in the medals for the Shuto League. Perhaps this bodes well for the Tokyo Cup coming up, as our fortunes seem to be inversely proportional in the two competitions!

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