YC&AC Rugby: Review of 2014 East Japan Top Club League Season

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YC&AC Rugby: Review of 2014 East Japan Top Club League Season
Report by: Joe Fisher
Results: Hokkaido Barbarians = Lost 29 – 0 | Sharks = Lost 41 – 21 | Tamariva = Lost (Default) | Komaba WMM = Lost 36 – 22 | Kitagami Blaze Rugger = Won 40 – 27 | Taisei Reds = Won 18 – 17 | RKU Dragons = Lost 76 – 3 | Mandara = Lost 17 -10

The YC&AC rugby team has recently finished its third season in the East Japan Top Club League, finishing a respectable seventh (out of nine teams).

The East Japan Top Club League, as the name would imply, comprises the best nine club teams, out of a total of 299, in the top half of Japan. In theory, this league is for the top amateur (as opposed to corporate or university) rugby teams in East Japan but in practice the lines are blurred somewhat – the Hokkaido Barbarians are arguably a semi-professional team, the RKU Dragons are a university team and the Taisei Reds team are all employees of Taisei Housing. Most of the teams are based in the greater Tokyo area but the Hokkaido Barbarians (who are based just out of Sapporo) and the Kitagami Blaze Rugger (from Iwate) provide some geographical diversity.

YC&AC started their campaign with a trip up to Sapporo at the end of August for a match against the Hokkaido Barbarians. This was always going to be a tough game (the Hokkaido Barbarians are always one of the two top teams) and only managing to get the bare minimum of fifteen people to make the trip didn’t help matters! The subsequent result doesn’t need to be discussed (although is recorded for posterity below) but for the brave souls who made the trip (known as the ‘Hokkaido XV’) the weekend still ended up being a lot of fun with beautiful weather, great facilities for the match, a BBQ straight after and then an excellent night out in Sapporo followed by an early afternoon flight back to Tokyo (all heavily subsidized).

Next up was a disappointing loss to the Sharks in late September. With 10 minutes to go we were only down by one try but unfortunately it was the Sharks who finished the stronger. Following this was another disappointment when a lack of available front rowers for the next match meant that unfortunately we had to default to Tamariva – if anyone knows any big, tough men who are bored with just sitting around the house being big and tough on the weekends we would be grateful if you could direct them towards the YC&AC rugby team!

The following match against the (amusingly named) Komaba Watermelon Men (WMM for short), despite being another loss, proved to be the turning point of our season. The Komaba WMM inevitably finish amongst the top three or four teams (which they did again this season) but we seem to be their ‘bogey’ team – for two years in a row their wins against us have been much narrower than their results against the other teams of a similar level to us. With the YC&AC tackling their hearts outs, Komaba were restricted to five tries (despite a wealth of territory and possession) and YC&AC managed four tries in return (gaining our first competition point as a result).

Our first competition win of the season (largely due to a very strong finish) followed a couple of weeks later against the Kitagami Blaze Rugger and then the YC&AC team achieved the highlight of the its season the following week by beating the Taisei Reds 18 – 17 in a match which was every bit as tense as the scoreline suggests. Unfortunately the momentum was broken by a big loss to the students from RKU a few weeks later and the season finished with a narrow loss to Mandara in mid-December in a match where the YC&AC team again defended bravely but just couldn’t break out of their own half.

For a club used to winning almost every match they play, the outcome of our East Japan Top Club League season does take some getting used to. However, as a comparison, during the competition season we also had ‘friendly’ games against the Tokyo Crusaders (which we won 61 – 22, retaining the GM Cup for the seventh season in a row) and Koyama (which we won by something like a hundred points). The outcome of these ‘friendly’ games, which were better than average scores against teams we have played annually for years on end, indicate that our Top Club League results are due to the much higher level of competition in this league rather than any particular drop-off in the level of the YC&AC team.

In terms of personal contributions, vice-captain Ben Patu enjoyed an excellent season. Ben played every match (mainly at No. 12), won multiple MVP awards and was the team’s top points scorer. Arts Tawhai (No. 8 or No. 13) was another recipient of multiple MVPs and also enjoyed a fine season. Our front-rowers Dai Okada, Nike Yoshio, Shunsuke Watanabe and Galdric Porta can be proud that they held their own against every opposition and young flanker Mike Mulipola was a great new addition to the team, as was fly-half Daisuke Obiya. As always, Simon Ryan did a ton of work behind the scenes – the club is eternally (and irrevocably) in his debt.

Finally, many thanks to Adrian Bell of Tradition and Steve ‘The Vicar’ Lewis for their continued and generous support of the YC&AC rugby club.

Joe Fisher

Results
Hokkaido Barbarians Lost 129 – 0
Sharks Lost 41 – 21
Tamariva Lost (Default)
Komaba WMM Lost 36 – 22
Kitagami Blaze Rugger Won 40 – 27
Taisei Reds Won 18 – 17
RKU Dragons Lost 76 – 3
Mandara Lost 17 -10

Final points table:http://www.rugby.or.jp/clubinfo/club/2014/higashinihontopclub_hoshitori.pdf

YC&AC v Koyama – 6 Dec 14 2014

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YC&AC v Koyama - 6 Dec 14 2014
Photos by: Kyoko Obayashi
Results: YC&AC: Quite a lot / Koyama: Not so many
Scorers: Outside of the tight five, almost everybody …

YC&AC v Koyama RFC (Date: 6 December 2014 / Venue: YC&AC)

Squad

1. Simon Tross Youle

2. Scott Sizemore

3. Nike Yoshio

4. Takuya

5. Jyunji Kikkawa

6. Kenji Yoshioka

7. Galdric Porta

8. Joe Fisher

9. KJ

10. Ryo Okawara

11. Go Ito

12. Bill Baker

13. Takafumi Nagata

14. Tom Harwood

15. Ian Miller

16. Yoshi from PSI

17. Keita from PSI

18. Kozu from PSI

19. Ben Patu

20. Rap Pagaialii

YCAC v RKU Dragons – Sun 30 Nov 2014

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YCAC v RKU Dragons - Sun 30 Nov 2014
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
YC&AC 3 – RKU Dragons 76 (HT: 3 – 26)
Penalty: Ben Patu

YC&AC v RKU Dragons – Top Club League match (Date: 30 November 2014 / Venue: YC&AC)

YC&AC Squad

1. Nike Yoshio
2. Galdric Porta
3. Shunsuke Watanabe
4. Joe Fisher
5. Taku Tokuriki
6. Luke Bradley
7. Michael Mulipola
8. Arts Tawhai
9. Asi Fui
10. Daisuke Obiya
11. Rap Pagaialii
12. Ben Patu
13. Michael Griffin
14. Kenji Yoshioka
15. Ryosuke Okawada

16. Simon Tross Youle
17. Yuji Kitano
18. Bill Baker

Staff
Scott Sizemore
Kyoko Obayashi

YCAC v Tokyo Crusaders Sat 22 Nov 2014

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YCAC v Tokyo Crusaders Sat 22 Nov 2014
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
YC&AC 61 Tokyo Crusaders 21 (HT: 14 – 14)
Tries: Bill Baker, Daisuke Obiya, Vake Fusimalohi, Mike Griffin, Jamie Henry, Joe Fisher, Go Ito (2), Rap Pagaialii
Conversions: Jamie Henry (4), Ryo Okawara (4)

YC&AC v Tokyo Crusaders – McFadyen Cup match (Date: 22 November 2014 / Venue: YC&AC)

Playing squad

1. Yusuke Hata

2. Galdric Porta

3. Peter Davison

4. Vake Fusimalohi

5. Joe Fisher

6. Rap Pagaialii

7. Michael Murapola

8. Arts Tawhai

9. Kazu Seto

10. Daisuke Obiya

11. Amosa Vaioalii

12. Opeti Faeamani

13. Mike Griffin

14. Bill Baker

15. Jamie Henry

16. Mike King

17. Yoshio Nike

18. Kats Matsuo

19. Ryo Okawara

20. Go Ito

Staff
Simon Ryan
Willie Lapthorn
Ben Patu
Kyoko Obayashi

Honourable Mentions
Steve Lewis (Referee)
Luke Bradley (Agreed to help the Cru out by playing for them)

YCAC v Taisei Reds – Sun 9 Nov 2014

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YCAC v Taisei Reds - Sun 9 Nov 2014
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
YC&AC 18 – Taisei Reds 17 (HT: 10 – 10)
Tries: Aterea Tawhai, Shunichi Tsushima
Penalties: Ben Patu (2)
Conversion: Ben Patu

YC&AC v Taisei Reds – Top Club League match (Date: 9 November 2014 / Venue: YC&AC)

Playing Squad
1. Yoshio Nike
2. Daisuke Okada
3. Shunsuke Watanabe
4. Sean Reidy
5. Joe Fisher
6. Galdric Porta
7. Michael Murapola
8. Arts Tawhai
9. Katsuhiko Shoda
10. Daisuke Obiya
11. Luke Bradley
12. Ben Patu
13. Mike Griffin
14. Shunichi Tsushima
15. Hikaru Yakushijin
16. Peter Davison
17. Junji Kikkawa
18. Yuji Kitano
19. Asi Fui
20. Bill Baker
21. John Gorman
22. Kenji Yoshioka

Staff
Simon Ryan
Mayumi Ryan
Marvin Sizemore
Kyoko Ohbayashi
Brimman Frazer

Match Report: YCAC v Kitakami played on Sun Oct 26th

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Match Report: YCAC v Kitakami played on Sun Oct 26th
Report by: Simon Ryan | Photos by Kyoko Obayashi

With three Top Club League matches scheduled on a sunny day at YCAC there was bound to be action and drama aplenty, and so it proved.

First-up, YCAC had an 11:45am matchup with Kitakami – with YCAC sitting bottom of the table and Kitakami one spot above there was a mid season wooden spoon at stake for the loser and a leg-up for the victor.

Things started well enough with a quick try and a 5-0 lead, it was shaping to be an easy day on the hill for the boys in blue. Not to be however, as the oppo rallied to lead 13-5 at the break. Five minutes into the second half they extended their lead 20-5. Things began to look grim when 3 minutes later a YCAC prop was sent to the bin..it was at this point that Rich Freeman(YCAC member, Englishman, and media guru on all things rugby related in Japan), having arrived ten minutes earlier as a spectator, decided the game was a forgone conclusion, he turned his back on his own club team and waddled off mumbling something like “bunch of losers are not worth the ink from my pinkie-like pen”. Does Rich leave early from all matches he attends? That may explain a few things..anyway, no poms were on the pitch either so that left the air very fresh.

With 22 minutes to the finish line, the 14 blue tortoises on the pitch sensed that the Kitakami hares were about to have a nap in the shade…or perhaps the steroid in the halftime water bottles just kicked-in…or maybe it was the cooling effect of the cloud cover moving over the hot sun. Whatever it was, the unfit-tired-beaten-looking bunch in blue shirts suddenly transformed into incredible blue hulks and turned the match on its head. They bullied and bashed their way to scoring 37 unanswered points. Even the ref couldn’t halt the blue wave as he sent yet another YCAC player to the bin.
Kitakami awoke to score the last try but too little too late as YCAC ran out victors in a highly entertaining match 42-27.

Post-match, Kitakami were a lovely bunch of blokes and very chatty about the match. But not even a YCAC hosted function of beers and curry could help them(or us) understand what had transpired on the park as they piled onto their bus for the eight hour journey back to Iwate. Perhaps that same journey overnight before the match may partially explain something…that’s what Rich might say if he saw the game.

PS. A first win for the season and a four try bonus point means YCAC move from 9th to 7th on the log. See table and results at this link:

http://www.rugby.or.jp/clubinfo/club/2014/higashinihontopclub_hoshitori.pdf

PS2: The drama/comedy, or near tragedy, occurred in the second match of the day when a burly Hokkaido BB’s prop brushed the goalpost and the top 3m of steel upright came crashing down, narrowly avoiding the ref, Sharks players..and a possible lawsuit.

YCAC vs Komaba WMM – Sun Oct 12th 2014

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YCAC vs Komaba WMM - Sun Oct 12th 2014
SCORE: YC&AC 22 Komaba WMM 36 – Photos by Kyoko Obayashi

2014/2015 Season Fixtures

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2014/2015 Season Fixtures

Opposition Results Dates
Hokkaido Barbarians
(Tour to Sapporo)
L29 – 0 Sat Aug 30th
Sharks
(YC&AC ground)
L41 – 21 Sun Sept 28th
Tamariba
(YC&AC ground)
Lost (Default) Sun Oct 5th
Komaba WMM
(YC&AC ground)
L36 – 22 Sun Oct 12th
Kitakami
(YC&AC ground)
W40 – 27 Sun Oct 26th
Taisei Reds (YC&AC ground) W18 – 17 Sun Nov 9th
McFadyen Cup
(YC&AC ground)
W61 – 21 Sat Nov 22nd
RKU
(YC&AC ground)
L76 – 3 Sun Nov 30th
Koyama RFC
(YC&AC ground)
W96 – 0 Sat Dec 6th
Mandara
(YC&AC ground)
L17 -10 Sun Dec 14th
Acorn - Sun Mar 8th, 1.30pm
Itochu - Sun Mar 15th, 1.30pm
Over 35s - Sat Mar 21st

YC&AC Japan Sevens

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FIRST ROUND
Result – YC&AC 12 Senshu University 28 (HT: 7-14)
Tries: Ryo Okawara, Rocky Khan: Conversions: Rocky Khan
Squad
1. Joe Fisher
2. Ed Cocker
3. Taku Tokuriki
4. Kazu Seto
5. Rocky Khan
6. Arts Tawhai
7. Ryo Okawara

8. MitchTamiau
9. Galdric Porta
10. Ryo Kikkawa
11. George Murasugi
12. Katsuhiko Shoda

Doyen: Simon Ryan
Manager: Willie Lapthorn
Photographer / Medic: Kyoko Obayashi

CONSOLATION QUARTER-FINAL
Result – YC&AC 17 Nihon University 35 (HT: 7-21)
Tries: Joe Fisher (2), Rocky Khan
Conversions: Rocky Khan

Squad
1. Joe Fisher
2. Ed Cocker
3. Taku Tokuriki
4. Kazu Seto
5. Rocky Khan
6. Mitch Tamiau
7. Ryo Okawara

8. Arts Tawhai
9. Jyunji Kikkawa
10. Galdric Porta
11. Ryo Kikkawa
12. George Murasugi
12. Katsuhiko Shoda

Doyen: Simon Ryan
Manager: Willie Lapthorn
Photographer / Medic: Kyoko Obayashi

HKFC Tens – Tradition YCAC

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Cup Final: BGC Dragons: Loss 14-29

Cup Semi Final: vs Samurai International: Win 12-5

Cup Quarter Final: vs JML IRANZ: Win 26-12

Tradition YCAC finished top in Pool D yesterday with three wins:
vs Tag Heuer Pyrenees: Win 35-7
vs Devils Own Wanderers: Win 99-0
vs Borneo Eagles: Win 17-0

Next Page »

  • Recent Reports

  • 2014/2015 Season Fixtures

    Opposition Results Dates
    Hokkaido Barbarians
    (Tour to Sapporo)
    L29 – 0 Sat Aug 30th
    Sharks
    (YC&AC ground)
    L41 – 21 Sun Sept 28th
    Tamariba
    (YC&AC ground)
    Lost (Default) Sun Oct 5th
    Komaba WMM
    (YC&AC ground)
    L36 – 22 Sun Oct 12th
    Kitakami
    (YC&AC ground)
    W40 – 27 Sun Oct 26th
    Taisei Reds (YC&AC ground) W18 – 17 Sun Nov 9th
    McFadyen Cup
    (YC&AC ground)
    W61 – 21 Sat Nov 22nd
    RKU
    (YC&AC ground)
    L76 – 3 Sun Nov 30th
    Koyama RFC
    (YC&AC ground)
    W96 – 0 Sat Dec 6th
    Mandara
    (YC&AC ground)
    L17 -10 Sun Dec 14th
    Acorn - Sun Mar 8th, 1.30pm
    Itochu - Sun Mar 15th, 1.30pm
    Over 35s - Sat Mar 21st