3 Nov 2009 – YCAC 1sts vs Keio University

Match reports by Joe Fisher
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
1sts photos
YCAC 1st Team 0, Keio University 97 (HT: 0-55)

YCAC 1st Team
It is said that a week is a long time in sport but maybe that is a conservative estimate because a mere three days after the YCAC 1st team experienced the jubilation of winning the GM Cup fixture against the Tokyo Crusaders they were brought back down to earth with a bang by an incredibly strong Keio University side.

Amazingly enough, given the scoreline, there were actually some positives to take out of this match. One was the performance of Noah “The New Crowbar” Pflaum who moved in from fullback to flyhalf for this match and had an exceptional game, seemingly playing the entire Keio team by himself at times. Another was the efforts of the YCAC forwards – we won all of our own lineouts and spent most of second half pushing the Keio pack off the ball in the scrums. Finally, the character showed by the whole team was heartening. Down 90 points with 20 minutes to play you would have been a brave man to bet against a century of points being scored but in fact YCAC spent most of that time camped on the Keio line and were unlucky not to manage a try themselves.

The YCAC v Keio University match is the oldest fixture involving a Japanese team, being first played in 1900, so it is a real shame that it is threatening to become permanently lopsided in favour of the students. Last season, even without a number of our regular 1st team backline, it was a fairly competitive match (the final score 45-14 in favour of Keio) but this year Keio were simply too good. It is clear that the midweek timing of this season’s match was not helpful, a mistake we won’t be repeating, with six of the seven backs who started against the Cru unavailable for this match. However, six of the eight forwards who started against the Cru were present so Keio do deserve a lot of credit for the way they played. In the writer’s opinion, this Keio side was better than the Keio All-Stars team we got stitched up to play against for the university’s 150th anniversary celebrations in March 2008. The speed with which the students played the game was truly impressive, as was their aggression when tackling and with ball in hand.

For this fixture to continue to be meaningful we either need to get a lot better or they need to get a lot worse. Of course, we all hope the former occurs. Still, it may pay to bring along some laxatives to slip into their water bottles before the next match – just in case!

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