2000 – Interport rugby against KR&AC




The port city of Kobe, like Yokohama, was one of the first in Japan to provide a home to large numbers of expatriates, and the Kobe Regatta & Athletic club has a history as long as that of the YC&AC. The two clubs have been playing an annual rugby fixture since 1903, and in recent years that fixture has been the final one of our regular season.

The game generally alternates between our ground and theirs, although after the great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 it was played in Yokohama for 3 years in a row. For 2001, we were back at YCAC and looking to defend an unbeaten home record stretching back over 10 years. The day was dry and bright, but a stiff wind made life very difficult in midfield and at the line-out, and it was clear from the start that it was to be a forwards’ game. KRAC started positively and set up phase after phase from well-recycled ruck ball, but the YCAC defence was as solid as ever, and they got nowhere near our line. We struck back with a try from (who else) James Lovegrove and a penalty from Fraser to turn round 8-0 ahead.
The second half looked set to be a tough 40 minutes for YCAC, now playing into the wind, and indeed we spent the early part of it camped in our own half. They won 3 kickable penalties but only coverted one, and KRAC heads started to drop as we fought our way back into their half. The killer blow was landed by Fraser who slotted a tough penalty into the wind to take the lead back to 8 points. Shortly afterwards Dougal, who had yet another outstanding game, charged down a Kobe clearance and regained posession for a try that Fraser then converted for a 18-3 lead. That’s how the game finished and congratulations are due to all involved for a superb team effort. James and Dougal in particular were exceptional. Sumo was the only casualty of the day – he has damaged his rib cartliage and will be out for 3 weeks or so – we wish him a quick and full recovery.

In 2000, we travelled down to Kobe for a game played in pouring rain on the worst pitch most of us had ever seen. KRAC came out winners 10-3.

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