RUGBY JERSEY – Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group A : Meiji University vs Teikyo University

(written by Azul, November 23rd, 2021)

This time (November 20th), for the first time in a long time (since May), I went to the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo to watch the Kanto University Rugby match between Meiji University and Teikyo University. First of all, let me introduce the profiles of both teams.

Meiji University Rugby Club: Founded in 1923. The Meiji University Rugby Club was founded in 1923, and is a traditional school of university rugby in Japan that will soon celebrate its 100th anniversary. It has won the University Championship 13 times and the Japan Championship once. In the current Japanese national rugby team, the Meiji University alumnus is Yuu Tamura.

Teikyo University Rugby Club: Founded in 1970. Compared to Meiji University, it is an emerging force. However, from 2010 to 2018, it set an unprecedented record of nine consecutive victories in the University Championship. In the current Japanese national team, Teikyo University alumni have produced as many as 10 players, including Shunsuke Asaoka, Yukio Morikawa, Atsushi Sakate, Kosuke Horikoshi, Daichi Akiyama, Kazuki Himeno, Yutaka Nagare, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryodo Nakamura, and Naohiro Kotaki.

Both teams are undefeated so far, and today’s match will be the de facto final of the Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group A.

The weather that day was perfect for watching the rugby match. Tickets were sold out. RWC2019 has dramatically increased the number of rugby fans in Japan, but as for today’s match, I think the overwhelming majority are old-time rugby fans. This means that the age range of the audience is high.

Looking around the venue, nearly 70% of the spectators were Meiji University fans. Whenever Meiji has a chance, the crowd erupts in cheers. Actually, cheering at the top of one’s lungs is prohibited due to the new corona infection control measures, but they couldn’t help but cheer.

In the photo above, the person wearing the white and purple bordered jersey is a Meiji fan. And the person wearing the red jersey is a  Teikyo University fan. The weather has been warm so far this year, so we can enjoy watching the games in relatively light clothing.

Today, my seat was unusually reserved for the main stand side. There is a roof over my seat, so I don’t have to worry if it rains, but the sun doesn’t shine, so I feel cold when the north wind blows. I felt closer to the ground than I expected.

The game started at 14:00, and since both teams were undefeated and had strong FW players, it was difficult to score for a while after the game started. However, the Teikyo University team won the first scrum.

In the game against Waseda University on November 3, Teikyo University dominated the game from the beginning. However, Meiji University today seemed to have developed countermeasures against Teikyo University, and up to the 10th minute of the first half, except for the scrum, the teams were evenly matched. Even so, it was Teikyo University that scored first. In the 14th minute of the first half, WTB Tomu Takamoto caught a kick pass from SO Mikiya Takamoto and scored a try. The conversion kick was also successful, and Teikyo University took the lead at 0-7.

After the first try, Teikyo University controlled the ball 70% of the time and did not give Meiji University a chance. In the 27th minute of the first half, Teikyo University WTB Shirakuni counter-attacked a ball kicked by Meiji University, broke through the Meiji University defense, made a big gain, and finally passed the ball to prop Teruuchi who was following him to score a try right under the goal posts. It was amazing to see the prop playing in the front line of the FW team running so well. Not only Teruuchi, but all the players in the first row of the FW team run very well. This is the driving force behind the strength of this year’s Teikyo University team.

The first half ended with Teikyo in the lead, 0-14.

At the beginning of the season, I didn’t feel such a difference in strength, but I was surprised at how well the Teikyo University team started the season. What kind of practice do they have every day? What makes the Teikyo University team stand out from the other leading teams?

1) They are able to see their opponents well at the moment of contact, dodge their opponents’ tackles, and pass the ball to their teammates.

2) They dominate the scrum.

3) FW players, especially the first row, follow-up is accurate and long.

Then, the second half started. Can the Meiji University team get back on track?

The Meiji University team has a tendency to receive the momentum of their opponents in the first half and then regain it in the second half, and today’s game was no different. In the 5th minute of the second half, WTB Ishida cut in front of the goal and hooker Ohga scored a try. The conversion goal was also successful, making the score 7-14.

(Image: Ishida, Meiji WTB, taking damage as he approached the goal)

In the second half, Teikyo University miscalculated when their captain, prop Hosoki, left the field injured. He was the driving force behind Teikyo’s powerful scrum, and after his exit, the scrum between Teikyo and Meiji became almost even.

Since they could no longer maintain their advantage in the scrum, the match went back and forth in a heated back-and-forth battle. The Teikyo University team’s impact players, flanker Tongatama and WTB Tuinakauvadra, who were introduced in the second half, were not as prominent in the match. In other words, Meiji University’s players were on the same level as their opponents.

The game itself was heated, but neither team scored after that, and the match ended at 7-14. As a result, Teikyo University won the Kanto University Rugby league match Group A.

Teikyo University is now one step closer to the championship.

Today’s notable players

1) Teikyo University hooker Hayate Era – A player with excellent running ability, decision-making ability, and skills, who is vying for the team’s try-scoring title. He has a great sense of smell for tries, and I am looking forward to seeing him in the Japan national team training camp.

(The player with the number 2 is ERA.)

(2) Kippei Ishida, WTB, Meiji University. 167cm, 73kg, a small player with excellent speed and attacking sense. At Meiji University, he was given the role of libero in the back three, and his unconventional moves baffled the opposing team. At the Olympics, he played SH, and I personally think that he could make a very interesting attack if he becomes the SH for Japan. He is also a hard tackler.

** Jersey Collection 49 **

Replica of the Federation Francais de Rugby warm-up jersey, made by Adidas. Estimated to have been produced around 2015. I got it on e-bay for 4,000 yen (used) plus 2,000 yen for shipping, instead of the regular price of 8,000 yen. It’s a good, plain jersey, and I wear this jersey when I’m in the office for work. The only thing that shows the France team is the symbol on the chest. It’s simple, but it’s cool to see the blue color of the French national team.

RUGBY JERSEY – Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group :      Waseda University  VS Teikyo University

(written by Azul, November 4th, 2021)

Today (November 3rd), I went to Komazawa Park Athletic Stadium in Tokyo to watch the Kanto University Rugby match between Waseda University and Teikyo University. Since this blog has many readers from overseas, I would like to explain about Japanese university rugby.

In the case of rugby in Japan, it can be roughly divided into the following categories

1. Working adult rugby (professional teams)

2. University rugby (amateur)

Under this, there is rugby for high school students and younger, but it is the two above that attract spectators and are mainly used for entertainment. In terms of ability, of course, the adult rugby team is higher. In the past, there was a time when the No. 1 working man’s team and the No. 1 university rugby team played for the Japanese championship. At that time, university rugby was the more popular team. However, at the first RWC in 1987, Japan’s rugby gradually lost its popularity as it showed the difference in its ability with the world’s strongest nations.

Later, in the 8th RWC 2015, after Japan showed that it could compete with the world, university rugby is regaining its former popularity.

This is why I went to watch domestic university rugby for the first time in a long time. The venue was Komazawa Park Athletic Stadium, where I watched a Top League game this spring.

In Japan, the new corona infection has finally subsided and people are now able to watch sports as usual. However, there are still some restrictions. The number of visitors is limited to about 50%. Spectators are required to wear masks. Loud cheering is prohibited.

Today’s game was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. I arrived at the nearest station, Komazawa University, 30 minutes before the game started. There was a huge crowd for today’s match between two popular teams, more than for the Top League match we had in April. (Although in April, the Komazawa Stadium was limited to a maximum of 3,000 people due to the new Corona.) Later, I found out that the number of visitors for today’s game was over 10,000.

Before the game started, I stopped at a convenience store on the way to buy lunch, but the line was so long that it took me more than 10 minutes to buy it.

I would like to give a brief introduction of the two teams playing today.

First, the Waseda University Rugby Club. It is a popular team that divides the popularity of Japanese rugby into two along with Meiji University. The regular game held every year in early December at the old National Stadium has been packed many times. It is also a prestigious team that has produced many Japanese national rugby players. The club was founded in 1917, so it has a history of 104 years.

The team has won the University Championship 16 times. They have won the Japan Championship four times. The team has produced Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Naoto Saito, Shogo Nakano, and Ryohei Yamanaka as the current representatives of Japan. The team is characterized by “proximity, continuity, and development”. The team uses the entire ground for open attacks. The team’s jersey is a black and white dun pattern.

Next is the Teikyo University Rugby Club. Founded in 1970, they are a new team compared to traditional schools, and won nine consecutive University Championships from 2009 to 2017.

The team is characterized by a strong all-round style in both FW and BK. The team’s jersey is deep red. The team has produced 10 players to represent Japan, including Shunsuke Asaoka, Yukio Morikawa, Atsushi Sakate, Kosuke Horikoshi, Daichi Akiyama, Kazuki Himeno, Yutaka Nagare, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryodo Nakamura, and Naohiro Kotaki.

These two teams are both undefeated so far. This was an important match to fight for the championship of the Kanto Intercollegiate Tournament. Teikyo University was defeated by Waseda University in a practice match this summer, so they are hoping to make up for it in an official match.

In the first half, Teikyo overwhelmed Waseda at the point of contact. especially in the scrum. I was curious to know what kind of training they usually do to make such an overwhelming difference, since there should have been no difference in the practice games during this summer camp. While Teikyo’s defense was so strong that Waseda’s attack was cut off, Teikyo’s attack had a strong sense of connection among all players, and each player kept moving forward incessantly. At the end of the first half, Teikyo University leads by 9 points, 12-3. While Teikyo scored two tries, Waseda only scored a PG at the end of the first half. In the first half, in terms of content, Waseda was completely defeated.

I thought, “This is not good for Waseda,” but when I listened to the people around me, they said that they lost the first half last year, too. Now, will they be able to get back on track in the second half?

In the 46th minute of the second half, SH Hosoya scored a try and also scored a conversion goal to make it 12-10. Teikyo’s lead was only two points. , and the large crowd at the stadium was excited.

However, Teikyo introduced three international students as impact players. In the 60th minute, Mitieri scored a try in the right corner, and in the 65th minute, number 8 Nobuhara scored a try in the middle right corner.

In the 70th minute, FL Tongatama scored the third try of the second half to make it 27-10, and they also scored a conversion goal to make it 29-10, giving Teikyo a massive 19-point lead.

In the 73rd minute, after an open attack on the right side, FB Kawase of Waseda broke through and WTB Maki scored a try in the right middle to make it 29-15.

In the 73rd minute, again Waseda FB Kawase cut through the defense with his individual skills and scored a try near the goal posts. 29-22. Teikyo’s lead was only 7 points.

In the 80th minute, with one play left, Waseda came close to scoring a try, but Teikyo got the ball back and kicked it out to end the game. In the end, Teikyo University won the game in the end.

In today’s game, I was impressed with Teikyo’s performance as a team since the beginning of the season. However, at the same time, I was also impressed by the individual determination of Kawase, the FB of Waseda. I hope that he will improve his physical ability one more level and play an active role in the national team in the near future.

** Jersey Collection 47  **

The official replica jersey of the French national rugby team from 1998. The price when new was about 10,000 yen in Japan. The color is white, so it is a second jersey. NIKE product. Purchased at E-BAY for 1980 yen in Japanese yen. Brand new and unused. The reason why it is so cheap is because there is a faint stain on the lower part of the jersey. The seller is a sporting goods store, and because of this stain, the jersey became bad stock and was sold at a discount. Of course, I don’t care about it at all. The second jersey of the French national team is very rare, so it is a valuable item.