Nagoya trip – 12 Sep 2009

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Match report by Joe Fisher
Photos by Kyoko Obayashi
Gents photos
1sts photos

YCAC Gents 24, Aichi Shukutoku University 42
Tries: Arnaud, Rafi Khan (2), Fraser
Cons: Fraser (2)

Whether it is politics, business or sport, the moral fibre of the Leader is all-important. The portents looked good as we departed from Tokyo as our bastion of moral rectitude (Slow-Joe Fisher) had not only organised the Nagoya trip immaculately (including breakfast for all of the guys), but had also arranged for his pretty wife to see him off at the station with a kiss. But in Nagoya the entire squad witnessed Slow-Joe literally lose his way. For a man committed to dietary discipline and the half-time banana it was a shock for the troops to be told to go and get a McDonalds on arrival at Nagoya station. It was even more of a shock to catch Slow-Joe waving at a group of 15 year old school girls (and yet more shocking to see their hysterically enthusiastic excitement in waving back to our Dear Leader). But most horrific of all was to discover that Slow-Joe had arranged a fixture for YCAC Gents against a University First Team.

Now, let’s get this absolutely straight at the outset. YCAC Gents is a team comprising guys who have had their better days. We are all over 40, we have pot bellies, we can’t run and we can’t tackle. As the Joy of Sex is now a cuddle and a cocoa with the wife, so the Joy of Rugby is the rumbling of fat bodies in scrum or maul.

Fortunately, the Vicar still has a direct line to God and was able to persuade the Almighty to send a storm of biblical proportions. The humid Summer’s Day was soon transformed to thunder, lightening and hailstones. But this was a minor miracle compared to the way in which Fraser landed a chip-kick on a six pence for Arnaud to gather and score. 7-0 to the Gents after 20 minutes. The squelchy conditions slowed down the 20 year old youngsters, but by half-time their blatant cheating (ie running fast when playing over 40s) had squeezed them ahead 7-14.

The half-time break was less a team-talk than a collective inhalation of breath. It is an understatement to say that the Gents are never at their fittest for the first game of the season and the lack of availability of substitutes (apart from the portly winger Adam Kennedy) brought with it a realisation that there was going to be a lot of running to do in the second half. Conversely, the University side not only had the benefit of six training sessions a week in the run up to the game, but also had a barrage of substitutes. Inevitably, the second half yielded try after try to these wing-heeled youngsters and the Gents’ minds turned away from the match and towards revenge against Slow-Joe.

Fortunately, the vengeful thoughts of a bunch of fat old men jumping up and down on Joe Fisher’s lithe body brought inspiration of sorts and the Gents reverted to the rumbling rugby that is our trademark. With Rafi and Nike leading from the front and Fraser using his full resources of weight and guile in the backs, the Gents steam-rollered through for three unanswered tries. At this point, the Gents were within two scores of the youngsters who were becoming seriously rattled. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off and the gas ran out with the result that the University Boys were able to run in a couple of late tries to flatter the score-line in their favour.

YCAC 1sts 12 Nagoya Barbarians 21 (HT 0-7)
Tries: Maui Magele, Brimman Frazer
Conversions: Rich Watkins

On a wet and wild day at Nagoya’s University of Feminine Virtue (愛知淑徳大学) the YCAC 1st XV kicked off their 2009/10 season with a tough match against the Nagoya Barbarians. The Nagoya Barbarians were established in 2003 and are comprised of mainly foreign players. They had recently put 80 points on the Crusaders and from watching their warm-ups it was obvious to see why – they had considerable size and they were clearly taking things very seriously.
The game was very physical right from the start and it soon became obvious what each team’s strengths and weaknesses were – the set pieces were about even, Nagoya had an advantage at ruck time and YCAC looked more dangerous when the ball went wide. Wingers Maui “Apocalypto” Magele and Eps “Little Cuzzy Bro” Tuibenau in particular looked dangerous every time they got the ball. Maui has clearly spent the off-season teaching Eps the finer points of fast starts both on and off the field as Eps has managed to get his better half pregnant and will soon be joining Maui in the YCAC Young Fathers Club. Unfortunately for us, the torrential rain made it difficult for us to implement our tactic of getting it wide and with the first half scoring consisting of just one try to the Barbarians (slightly against the run of play), YCAC went into half-time in an unfamiliar position – behind.

However, YCAC started the second half stronger due to some inspiration by another who has had a busy off-season (and therefore
another baby on the way) – our touch judge Steve “The Vicar” Lewis. Although it might be a bit of a linguistic stretch to get Vicar included in the Young Fathers Club he once again showed that there is no limit on what he will do for the club he loves. This time, somewhat strangely, he choose to try to inspire the troops by running touch in the second half with no shirt on. This unorthodox tactic immediately paid dividends and a fired-up Maui took full advantage by steaming through several Barbarians players to lodge YCAC’s first try. However, Maui was not the only one impressed by the sight of a half-naked Vicar – YCAC enforcer Erich “Freezer” Friess was clearly paying close attention as he later revealed a well-hidden artistic (or possibly even homoerotic) side by commenting that during this time Vicar’s nipples were “as hard as diamonds”. Given the club’s need for sponsorship this season it was a real shame that veteran prop Scott “Mad Marvin” Sizemore was not on this trip – he has previously paid Y50,000 for the pleasure of twisting the aforementioned nipples and surely the sight of a dripping wet Vicar would have proved too much for him had he been there.
Unfortunately the Barbarians were the next to score, catching us napping when a lineout went wrong. However, YCAC hit back almost immediately with flanker Brimman “Brutus” Frazer running a nice angle to score YCAC’s second try. This took the score to 14-12 with 4 minutes to go. Perhaps showing that we are not used to going into the final stages of matches behind, we tried to push things from our own line and turned the ball over. When the Barbarians scored shortly afterwards that was enough to seal the match for them.

Although a loss, this match was very useful for a lot of reasons. It immediately got us tuned in to this season and demonstrated clearly the areas of our game we need to work on. It also introduced us to the Nagoya Barbarians, a worthy opponent and one who we will hopefully play annually from now on. The tour was also useful for a number of off-field reasons, as Chris “Benedict Arnold” Mander (or should that be Chris “The Alpha Male” Mander) can attest to …

Team Sheet
1. Erich “Freezer” Friess (USA)
2. Dean “Team Player” Stallard (Australia)
3. Leopold “Os” Visser (South Africa)
4. Matt “Posh Spice” Dimond (England)
5. Rafi “Ghengis” Khan (USA)
6. “Slow” Joe Fisher (New Zealand) (c)
7. Brimman “Brutus” Frazer (USA)
8. Tony “Big Daddy” Baildon (Australia)
9. Rich “Fabio” Watkins (England)
10. Ben “Sumo” Patu (Samoa)
11. Maui “Apocalypto” Magele (Samoa)
12. Grant “Mr. Normal” Thompson (England)
13. Tristan “Inside Centre” Fahy (Ireland)
14. Eps “Little Cuzzy Bro” Tuibenau (New Zealand)
15. Willie “Mini Me” Lapthorn (New Zealand)
16. Yoshio “Nike” Naiki (Japan)
17. Sandy “The Comeback Kid” Rose (USA)
18. Chris “Benedict Arnold” Mander

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