Tokyo Crusaders vs. Fuji Club, 66 – 17 (W)
by Tom Cocks
gathered in force at Nishi-Kasai station bright and breezy on a very pleasant Sunday morning ready to take on Fuji Club RFC
in the first round of the 2014 Tokyo Cup. Things started well with the full complement turning up at 9.20am having followed Tooley’s detailed instructions perfectly… all except Tooley that is.
After reaching the impressive ground, the team was briefed on the ‘anal’ nature of the pre-game team inspection to ensure that we complied with the rules. Shortly after, the Cru turned out fully kitted out for what looked very much like a police suspect’s line up
, so thankfully much of the team felt at home. Having had socks, shorts, shirts, boots, padding, finger nails and dodgy haircuts thoroughly inspected we were passed as fit to play rugby. Due to the presence of tights and pink t-shirts, I believe a certain few were subjected to a more thorough, rubber gloved inspection behind closed doors, but everyone turned up at the pitch so it must have gone well!
Cru came armed with a wealth of forwards
meaning we were able to field practically two completely different packs in each half. Coupled with a lesser number yet still a strong selection of backs, the line up looked formidable, and the opposition understandably looked nervous. Thanks must go to all the supporters
who stepped up to help meaning that we (just) managed to provide the correct number of officials for the game as per Tokyo Cup rules. These were Tooley
(Safety), Tomoe Hitchman
and Ada Wilkinson
(Men’s fashion) and one of Gibbo’s ‘fans’
The game kicked off at 11.31 and the ball was neatly gathered by Frank
. The pre-game chat had been very much about focusing on our defence, along with intensity and discipline at the breakdown. It was therefore very encouraging to see the pack charging into the rucks and clearing out right from the get go. This meant that quality ball could be enjoyed by the backs and no one had to feel the wrath of Ev’s spikey tongue
. Not surprisingly, having battered Fuji club from the off, Skurry powered over the line
under the posts after just 5 minutes, which was converted by Ev
. Frank then gobbled up the restart and set the forwards loose again, culminating in the ball being spun down the 5 metre line for Wyn
to neatly finish in the corner just 2 minutes later. Our Stats man, borrowed from the collaboration team, denied Ev the conversion but those that were actually watching know that he kicked it.
The next phase of play saw Cru on the back foot and the Fuji Club lock managed to drive over from a line out on 11 minutes, converted by their number 9. In doing so they exposed our weakness in defending against the rolling maul. This is something that clearly needs to be worked on in the coming weeks as they did the same again 12 minutes later, again converted.
However, their second try was sandwiched by two Kyle Cotton tries
as he smashed through the middle in trademark fashion, clattering defenders like skittles in a bowling alley. Ev slotted both conversions and the half closed after 35 minutes of rampant Crusader rugby with the score at 26-10. After a rousing half time speech, the team took to the field with a new pack. Only Gen and Galdric
stayed on and Van
came on for Wyn
a few minutes into the second half for the backs. This ensured that all players enjoyed a decent amount of game time. Despite the new look side, nothing was lost in terms of commitment and intensity. The forwards continued to dominate at the breakdown, the defensive line was destructive and big hits went in all over the park. Kyle smashed his opposite man into last week
and Steve punished a Fuji Club forward
with a textbook and very legal dump tackle.
, frustrated by his numerous dummy runs in the first half, made amends by scoring twice, 2 and 10 minutes into the half with some crisp finishing. Trav
bagged an opportunist’s try under the post from a missed throw in on 19 minutes. Yorkie
chose some great lines from deep and exposed the
opposition’s dodgy defence with two scores of his own, on 12 and 22 minutes. The last try of the game was a lovely team try run from kick off, passing through a number of Crusader hands, being finished by Gibbo
with a crowd pleasing salmon dive. Clearly he had a certain Water Official in mind along with the potential ‘rewards’ that would follow later on.
Ev knocked over 4 of his 6 conversions
and the only smear on the half was a third try for the opposition lock on 24 minutes after a penalty was foolishly given away on our line (by me). All in all, it was a disciplined, spirited and encouraging performance by the Cru which rightfully drew admiration from the opposition Captain and the Referee.
Straight after the final whistle the usual post game thank yous took place along with Tooley’s timeless joke. Inevitably, the Fuji Club number 4 picked up their MVP award for his 3 tries, while the Cru 3,2,1’s were Galdric (1), Yorkie (2) and Kyle (3)….well played fellas. Hurricanes RFC were in need of some rental players in the next game as they were short, so our ‘rent boys’, Frank, Van, Galdric, Eric and Gen
all volunteered and somehow found the energy to play a whole match.
The team then re-convened in the West Ikebukuro HUB for post-match Nomihodai, food, highlights/lowlights and the long overdue Shuto Champions Party. Regrettably my team lost resoundingly in the Boat Race, largely down to Gaz Lim preferring to wear his beer rather than drink it
and Tooley taking about 3 minutes to down his, albeit very neatly! I can’t really recall what happened after that but I’m sure it was fun and I can confirm that the Trophy did make it home. As for Gibbo’s fan, who knows?…
All in all, a top day.
1 – Kyle “not so soft after all” Cotton (3 points)
2 – Roy “can’t keep my feet still” Yorke (2 points)
3 – Galdric “that’s not a baguette in my pocket” Porta