written by Glen ‘Gen’ Taylor After a two-week break due to heavy snowfalls in Tokyo, The Crusaders were facing one of their biggest campaigns in recent years. Following victory in the Shuto League championship, the team had been invited to take part in the Cup-winners’ Cup, which is a competition of all the regional champions. Many of the opposition teams are currently playing in Tokyo Cup Div.1 (or a higher league), which the Crusaders are trying to challenge for in the coming Spring season. The Crusaders must show that it was not kind of a fluke to win the League, but that they are good enough to be playing at this level. Superman RFC is certainly not an easy opposition, as the name suggests. However, the Cru sure had a few superheroes of their own, like Alex “Cru Ironman 2012-13” Diaz, and Aiko “Wonder Woman” Watanabe, but not a full line-up, as we were missing a few of our more notorious comicbook heros – for example, Pat “the Hulk” Wheen or Paul “maybe Clark Kent lookalike” Skurr. The Cru started the first minutes tremendously, even after losing the ball at the kick off, turning over the ball in the scrum right after though, and finishing over the tryline with a try scored by Chris “X men” Ekstrom. Cru 5, Superman 0 at 2 minutes. Superman attacked for the next 15 mins, but the Cru fought back against them, making hard hits on defensive, especially by Tom Cocks, Travis Dixon, and Luke Bradley. However, the well-drilled Supermen know how to play phase by phase. This ‘drilled’ play sapped the Cru’s stamina and gained meters little by little. At the end of the first half, the number of tries went Superman’s way, 5-1. (Half time score, 31-5 to Superman RFC). “Professor X” Seth Robson and “juggernaut at times” Adam Birss came in as replacements at half time. Although the team lost Travis ‘I-don’t-want-to-play-with-this-ball-anymore’ Dixon for 10mins for the Cru’s first official sin bin in 2 seasons, a 14-man Cru side regained strength and kept the opposition scoreless for the next 15 mins. However, Superman played well, keeping the ball, with possession over 60%?, and attacked the standing-too-high Cru defense. As was apparent throughout the whole 80 minutes, Superman RFC are superior in contact and fitness, which is a great lesson for the Cru to show us what we need to compete at this level. Considering the second half, the Crusaders played better, as they kept the Superman scoreless for half of the first 40 mins. Another thing to note, Marc “Cyclops” Sherratt and a few other subs showed a ‘quality of performance’ after waiting on the sideline for 60 shivering minutes. Superman RFC beat a marvelous Cru this time, but surely The Avengers will come back strongly next time around. Not by obtaining super powers instantly by a spider bite, but by training hard with old-school methods within the mountainous terrain of Siberia like Rocky Balboa or ….perhaps the dusty/muddy terrain that is Edogawa riverside.