22 April 2000 – Interport exhibition game in Kobe

KRAC invited us to Kobe for an Interport exhibition game as part of the city’s earthquake revival project (happily not on their dreadful home ground). We were missing almost a dozen first team regulars, but took a couple of guests from Tokyo Gaijin (Keil Ireland & Dave Portas), one from the Cru (Andrew Shannon) and Richie Heaslip – formerly KRAC’s star player and now settled in Tokyo.
Kobe were clearly up for revenge after their defeat six weeks earlier, and threw everything at us from the start. Once again, though, YCAC tackling was superb and the opposition were restricted to kicking penalties. We had one chance ourselves early on, but Fraser managed to hook his kick towards the corner flag not the goal posts, and we trailed for the whole first half despite a sharp try from Dougal after a good blind-side break from the back of the scrum by Rich Heaslip. There was more pressure after the break – not least after Kobe brought on half a dozen fresh players, but we narrowed the gap to 12-10 when Rich Heaslip crashed over from a short penalty, and broke the KRAC spirit when Doogs made a break from right on our line and covered most of the pitch before finding Rob Jee in support who then recycled for Doogs to score.
Doogs managed one more for his hat trick, and KRAC finally crossed our line with the last play of the game, making the final score 20-17. It was a deeply satisfying and well-deserved win – our first in Kobe since 1986. Well done to all involved.

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