Sat 6 Mar – YCAC First XV 41, Kobe R&AC 6

Tries : Yoshi Amano, James Robertson (3), James Bohan-Pitt, Rob Willis, Go Kawai. Cons : Riki Nakamura (2), Niall Jefferson (1)
“It’s coming home, it’s coming home, the Glorious 23 are bringing it home!!”.

Not since the days when Doddy was a young man have YCAC won in Kobe. OK – the last time was 20 years ago and Doddy was already an old fart by then. But still, 20 years is a hell of a long time. But what can you expect when highly-tuned athletes (the veritable thorough-bred stallions of the rugby world) are forced to play in a sand-pit and suffer officiating as sympathetic as Japanese bondage girls at an American’s Stag Party. Even God seemed to conspire against the Terrific 23 as they stepped out of the train into a blizzard of piercingly cold snow-flakes. But Erich “Captain Fantastic” Friess had taken a leaf out of Sir Clive’s book and had had the fore-thought to bring along a spiritual adviser to intercede with The Almighty. By kick-off, sunshine bathed the ground where hours earlier there had been snow .
The Valiant 23 girded themselves with armour (literally as well as figuratively as President Simon “Legend of Yamate” Ryan had done the boys proud and imported Argentinian rugby body shields especially for the game). The mental preparations were thrown into confusion immediately prior to kick-off as Captain Fantastic Friess tried to combine a team-talk with a demonstration of how to make his nipples erect. Given that Erich has a massive chest and given that at least 3 of the boys have not had a shag in 2004 (yes – you know who you are!), the team-talk was interrupted as several of the boys tore off their socks and headed for the privacy of the toilet cubicles.
This may have relaxed the boys, but it also made them sticky-fingered, and a knock-on from the kick-off led to a penalty and a 3 point deficit within 30 seconds. The contrast in styles was evident as KRAC kicked for goal at every opportunity and YCAC ran at every opportunity. YCAC received due reward after 20 minutes as Yoshi Amano made a tremendous break close to a ruck to sprint under the posts from 25 metres out. Bill “the Seed” Robertson (who was later given the MVP award for his bedroom antics over 25 and 27 years ago) watched proudly as Jim Robertson scored the first of his 3 tries and YCAC reached half-time with a deserved but hard fought 14-6 lead.
The second half was an entirely different affair. YCAC turned on the style and dominated a rapidly disintegrating KRAC. Two further tries from Jim Robertson and an incisive break and try from debutant winger Rob Willis were matched by superb rolling mauls by the forwards that were finished off with tries by Tiffany and Go Kawai. Indeed, one rolling maul gained a full 35 yards of territory : a tremendous forward effort against the traditionally strong KRAC pack.
Throughout, the game was played in good spirit. In fact, in his after-match speech the Japanese referee bemoaned the lack of punching and kicking (giving him no opportunity to further his theatrical performance with a brandishing of yellow and red). But he did miss the one vicious assault of the day when James “The Sock” Rogers was traumatised by a monstrous attack on his head-gear by the KRAC medical man. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts during the after-match party this was the only time anyone else’s hands got anywhere near The Sock’s gear.
The after-match party took place in a refrigerator and was notable for plum onigiri and Captain Fantastic receiving nominations for MVP for Darts, Soccer and Girls Hockey.

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