YCAC presentation 2009/2010


My name is Joe Fisher. I have been the captain of the YCAC 1st XV since December 2007 and have been elected captain again for the 2009/10 season. This presentation was given at YCAC on 5 September 2009 and sets out my vision of what the YCAC 1st XV should be aiming for over the next few seasons.

The purpose of these notes is to flesh out certain parts of the presentation. Where the slides themselves are self-explanatory no further comments will be provided.

“I am not telling you that have to buy-in to this goal. It is up to you to decide what you want out of your rugby”
I acknowledge that the goal of the YCAC 1st XV becoming the best club team in Japan is very challenging and considerable effort will be required if we are going to achieve it. I also fully accept that not everyone will buy into this. Some people won’t have the time, others won’t have the motivation. That is 100% OK. I cannot and do not wish to ‘make’ anybody sign up to this, it is a commitment that everybody needs to make (or choose not to make) by themselves.

For those who do not wish to ‘buy in’ I would say the following: This presentation is intended to apply only to the YCAC 1st XV. The YCAC Gents are an absolutely vital part of YCAC rugby and for those who just want to enjoy a bit of social rugby and a beer then there is always a place for them in the Gents. It is worth remembering that the Gents does not just serve those who don’t make the 1st XV, it is also serves those don’t wish to play for the 1st XV.

The stairway to heaven
The way that we qualify for the East Japan Club Championship is to finish in the top two of the Kanagawa League 1st Division spring competition.

The East Japan Club Championship runs in the autumn and involves the top teams from other Kanto competitions (e.g. I know Kurumi qualified out of the 1st Division of the Tokyo Cup this spring).

The way that we qualify for the Japan Top Club Championship (Division 2) is by winning the East Japan Club Championship. The five teams in the Japan Top Club Championship (Division 2) in 2008 were Tsukubarians (ツクバリアンズ), 曼荼羅クラブ (Mandela Club), Niigata Ibis (新潟アイビス), Over the Top (オーバーザトップ), and Dragons (ドラゴンズ).

The way that we qualify for the Japan Top Club Championship (Division 1) is by winning the Japan Top Club Championship (Division 2). The five teams in the Japan Top Club Championship (Division 1) in 2008 were Tamariba (タマリバクラブ), Hokkaido Barbarians (北海道バーバリアンズ), Komaba WMM (駒場WMM), 三鷹オールカマーズ (Mitaka All Comers), 高麗クラブ (Koryo Club). The winners were Tamariba who have won it every year for the last few years.

To the victor go the spoils
Achieving this goal would mean a spotlight on YCAC and the players in the 1st XV:

i.) The final of the National Club Championship is held at Chichibunomiya.

ii.) The winners of the National Club Championship qualify for the Microsoft Cup where they compete against the top corporate and university teams in Japan.

Start training regularly as a team
In my opinion, the two weakest parts of our game are our fitness and our ability to play as a team. The Keio University game (the only match the 1st XV lost during the 2008/09 season) was an excellent example of this. The difference between us and the opposition was that they were better drilled and in better condition.

Without regular training you are limited in what you can do in terms of moves (e.g. lineout moves, No. 8 moves, backline moves, penalty moves) because the only time you get to work on these things is immediately before the game. Without regular training it is also hard to work on aspects of the game which require multiple people to practice (e.g. tackling, scrimmaging, rucking, mauling, etc.). Regular training should help our rugby fitness.

I have checked the websites of the top club teams (Tamariba, Hokkaido Barbarians, Komaba WMM). They don’t train during the week but they either train or play basically every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday. So it is a fact that all of the best amateur teams train regularly. It is not sensible to believe that we can beat these teams regularly unless we start training too.

YCAC is currently available for us on Thursday nights from 7:30 – 9 pm.

Individually get into the best shape possible
People need to take responsibility for their own fitness.

However, I would like to provide some support and information to help people get together a personal training program.

Recruit or develop the best club players in Japan
The challenge for each 1st XV player (or aspiring 1st XV player) is to strive to be the best club (i.e. not corporate or university) player in their position in Japan.

I intend to visit Japanese universities late this year to give a presentation to 4th year rugby players asking them to consider YCAC as one of their options for club rugby after they graduate.

I think one of the keys to achieving our aim is developing a deep squad so that we are still able to win matches against quality opposition even when we have injuries and unavailabilities.

Put together a quality fixture list
I think the YCAC 1st XV should be playing somewhere between 15 – 20 fixtures per season. Our aim should be to get together a team which we are proud of (a genuine 1st XV) for each fixture.

I am of the opinion that an ideal fixture list is one which splits equally between fixtures against teams weaker than us (“easy matches”), fixtures against teams at the same level as us (“even matches”), fixtures against teams stronger than us (“tough matches”). Easy matches help us to build confidence and allow us to try new players / combinations without fear of such experiments costing us the match. Even matches give us the experience of how we need to play close matches and provide a way of gauging our current form. Tough matches show us where are weak points are and what we need to do to reach the next level. We also need to try to avoid hugely lopsided fixtures as I don’t believe this does either us or the opposition any good (“mismatches”).

Steve Lewis and I will work together to try to put together the best possible fixture list for the 1st XV.

Have strong off-field organization
Have structures in place to give the players the best possible chance of success.

改善 (かいぜん – Continuous Improvement)
Always look for ways to improve what we are doing.

We should not accept doing things in a certain way just because “that is the way they have always been done”. We should be always looking to improve the way we do things and tailor our approach to the situation we have in front of us. Our goal of becoming the top club team in Japan is fixed but the means by which we achieve this goal must be flexible.

It is unlikely that our progression towards our goal of winning the National Club Championship will happen smoothly, there will almost certainly be set-backs along the way. My personal opinion is that with our best players playing well we are already the second best club team in Japan behind Tamariba but the challenge is, firstly, to make the 1st XV consistently this good, and then, secondly, find a way to become consistently better than Tamariba.

To win the Kanagawa League 1st Division we will need to win at least four games out of five (including the last two in a row). I believe the East Japan Club Championships are a knock-out and that both divisions of the National Club Championships are round-robins. So, to achieve our aim we are going to need to be able to win consistently against quality teams away from our home ground under administrative scrutiny and on some dates which will not suit us. As you can see, it will not be easy! This is why we need to look at improvement in everything we do – we cannot rest on our laurels.


  • Recent Reports

  • 2014/2015 Season Fixtures

    Opposition Results Dates
    Hokkaido Barbarians
    (Tour to Sapporo)
    L29 – 0 Sat Aug 30th
    (YC&AC ground)
    L41 – 21 Sun Sept 28th
    Komaba WMM
    (YC&AC ground)
    L36 – 22 Sun Oct 12th
    (YC&AC ground)
    W40 – 27 Sun Oct 26th
    Taisei Reds (YC&AC ground) W18 – 17 Sun Nov 9th
    McFadyen Cup
    (YC&AC ground)
    W61 – 21 Sat Nov 22nd
    (YC&AC ground)
    L76 – 3 Sun Nov 30th
    Koyama RFC
    (YC&AC ground)
    W96 – 0 Sat Dec 6th
    (YC&AC ground)
    L17 -10 Sun Dec 14th
    Acorn W62 - 7 Sun Mar 8th, 1.30pm
    Itochu Cancelled Sun Mar 15th, 1.30pm
    Over 35s Champs Sat Mar 21st
    56th YC&AC Japan Sevens Ryutsu Keizai University Sun Apr 12th