RUGBY JERSEY – National University Rugby Championship Quarterfinals

(Written by Azul, Decemmber 31st, 2021)

The National Collegiate Rugby Championship was held on December 26, with four matches being played. The pairings were.

1. Waseda University vs Meiji University

2. Tokai University vs Keio University

3. Kyoto Sangyo University vs Nihon University

4. Teikyo University vs Doshisha University

Of these, I watched matches 1 and 4 this time. The venue for the games was the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo. The first game kicked off at 11:30, the same as last week. The second match will kick off at 14:00. Just like last week, this week’s match was also covered by a strong cold air for December in the Japanese archipelago. Based on last week’s experience, I’ve strengthened my cold weather gear a bit. I wore the same N-3B jacket as last week, but underneath, I wore

** Cold weather gear #3: Lad Weather vest **

Lad Weather product. It’s a new product, 3,980 yen. Aluminum vapor deposition on the inside. I’m wearing an N-3B as my jacket, so I was looking for something thin, light, and warm for inner wear, and I settled on this. If you only want to watch one game, the N-3B will be enough, but if you want to sit for 5 hours with the maximum temperature being only 6 degrees Celsius, this will be useful.

** Thermal gear #4: Thermal pants **

These are the same as the thermal cargo pants I used last week, but with a closed hem.

So, with this equipment, I headed for the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium.

The first match of the day was Waseda University Rugby Club vs Meiji University Rugby Club. It is a golden card among Japanese rugby fans. Except for the Rugby World Cup, this is the match that attracts the most spectators in Japan. This is the first time for me to watch this “Waseda vs Meiji” game at a stadium. This time, I was able to get this ticket by lottery. Here is a brief introduction of the two schools.

Waseda University Rugby Club:

Waseda University Rugby Club: 2nd place in the Kanto University Rugby rivalry group in 2021. The uniform is a red and black stripe pattern jersey. The traditional team tactics are “close”, “continuous”, and “development”. It is the same tactics as the Japanese national team in the past.

Meiji University Rugby Club:

2021 Kanto University Rugby 3rd place in the rivalry group. The uniform is a white and navy blue stripe pattern jersey. In contrast to the tactics of Waseda University, the team traditionally constructs matches with tactics based on strong FW.

The weather on the day of the match was fine and sunny. The temperature was 6 degrees Celsius. The advance tickets were sold out. I can say that I was very lucky to get the ticket. In contrast, the two quarterfinal matches of the University Championship to be held on the same day and at the same time at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium have sold less than 30% of their tickets. What is the difference?

Let the games begin. In university rugby, players are replaced every year, so there are waves of strength and weakness in the teams. However, in the past five years, both Waseda University and Meiji University have become the best university in Japan, and their strength is very close. As a sign of this, it has become difficult to win both the rivalry game and the university championships game in a row. So, will Meiji University, which lost in the December 4th match, be able to make up for the loss in this match?

I thought that Meiji University, a slow starter, was fired up from the start of the game, and within 1 minute and 30 seconds of the first half, FL Kido of Meiji scored a try in the left corner. (The conversion goal failed.) The score was 0-5, and Meiji scored first.

Now, both sides turned on each other to see if they could get a point. Then, in the 7th minute of the first half, Waseda University successfully picked up the ball after charging the opponent’s kick, developed to the left in front of the goal, and finally, Waseda’s WTB Koizumi scored a try in the left corner. However, just before the goal line, Meiji University’s SH Iinuma sent him slightly out of the touch line. That was not scored.

The next scoring opportunity came again for Waseda University. The SO Ito took the ball and ran over 60m alone to score a try in the left middle. However, Ito’s legs were terribly fast. The Meiji players who were chasing him gave up midway. Ito scored the conversion goal himself, and Waseda was up 7-5.

Immediately after that, Meiji scored a PG in enemy territory and reversed the score to 7-8. However, Waseda soon scored a PG and took the lead, 10-8. In the middle of the first half, it was a back-and-forth affair. The key man for Waseda on this day was CTB Osada. During Waseda’s attacks, he repeatedly penetrated Meiji’s defensive net. However, the other key man for Waseda, FB Kawase, was thoroughly marked by Meiji University and was not allowed to do any decisive work.

Then, in the 35th minute of the first half, the game changed. In the 35th minute of the first half, Waseda developed to the left in front of the opponent’s goal, and finally prop Kobayashi broke through the defensive net and scored a try in the middle left corner. After the try, the conversion goal failed and Waseda University led by 7 points, 15-8.

The first half ended like this. The game was almost evenly matched. However, since the University Championship is a tournament, a loss would mean the end of the season, so both teams would like to have a victory.

The second half of the game started. Meiji University came close to the Waseda goal several times, and the FW players tried to break through. In the 10th minute of the second half, Meiji prop Ohga finally scored a try in the right middle.

The conversion goal failed. The score became 13-15, and Meiji University closed the gap to two points.

After this, 14 minutes into the second half. Waseda University developed near the half way and SO Ito broke through the Meiji’s defensive network and made a big gain. There were many following players of Waseda, and everyone in the crowd thought that it would be a try right under the goal post by Waseda. However, Waseda SH Miyao knocked on the last pass. There was no score.

Then, in the 29th minute of the second half. Prop Ohga scored his second try of the day, this time in the middle left corner. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was 15-20, giving Meiji University a 7-point lead.

With 10 minutes remaining, Meiji University chose to scrum every time there was a foul, cutting down the time and eventually ending the game. For Waseda University, missing the decisive moment in the 14th minute of the second half became the fatal cause of defeat.

The winner, Meiji University, will advance to the semifinals on January 2nd.

I was impressed by the tears of Meiji University’s Ohga, who scored two tries, right after the game. This game must have been very special for the players of both schools.

The 1st game ended around 1:10 p.m. and there were 50 minutes until the 2nd game kicked off. If the temperature were a little higher, it would be easier to spend the time, but with such cold weather, even just watching the second game would be a painful experience if you don’t have adequate protection against the cold.

Today’s second match: Teikyo University Rugby Club vs Doshisha University Rugby Club.

A brief introduction of both schools.

Teikyo University Rugby Club:

Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group 1st place. They are strong in both FW and BK, and have won this season without any trouble so far. In many games, the game was decided in the first half because they came at us with all their might from the beginning of the game. The only game with a close margin was Meiji University.

Doshisha University Rugby Club:

Kansai University A League, 4th place. In this season’s Kansai League, the power of Tenri University, last year’s University champion, was not as prominent as in previous years, so the power of the top schools was very close. This season, Doshisha University, like Waseda, is oriented toward development rugby and has good players in BK. The focus of the match was how far Doshisha University’s FW could go against Teikyo University’s FW, the number one team in Kanto.

And what stunned me before the start of the match was the movement of the audience. The audience that was packed (about 10,000 people) during the first game, more than half of them left without watching the second game at the start.

The tickets for this day were good value tickets that allow you to watch two games in a row, but most of the audience came only for the first game between Waseda and Meiji. Teikyo University has won nine consecutive student championships and has produced many national representatives, but they are still not as popular as Waseda University and Meiji University. I was a little disappointed before the game started, but anyway, the first half of the game started.

In the first two minutes, Teikyo University formed a maul in front of the opponent’s goal and moved forward, and Teikyo lock Aoki easily scored a try. I wish Doshisha University had put up more of a fight.

After this, Teikyo University continued to show the difference in strength. In the first half, Doshisha University gave up 7 tries to Teikyo University, and the score was 45-5, giving Teikyo University a 40-point lead. Especially in the 20th minute of the first half, Teikyo University’s FB Taninaka broke through the Doshisha University’s defensive network by himself and scored a try after passing 6 players, which excited the whole audience. The whole audience went wild!

At this point, the game was decided, and the audience began to leave their seats one after another. Even the person in front of me, who was waving a Doshisha University cheering flag, was too sad to watch anymore and left.

In addition to the fact that the game turned out to be a one-sided game for Teikyo, the bitter cold was so unbearable that the audience started to leave one after another even in the middle of the second half. If you don’t bring the perfect winter gear, you won’t be able to stand watching two games for about five hours. I didn’t wear gloves to operate the camera until the first game, but by the second game, I couldn’t stand it and had to wear gloves with both hands to take pictures.

Then the second half began. Teikyo University threw in reserve players one after another as soon as the game started, as the winner was almost decided. Doshisha University’s defensive pressure decreased, and their signature attack began to work. Looking at the score of the second half alone, the game ended with Teikyo University leading by 15 points, 31-19. It was better than the first half, but the final score was 76-24, with Teikyo University winning by a whopping 52 points. Looking at the score alone, the difference in points was as if a professional team and a student team had played a game. By the end of the game, there were only about 2,000 spectators left.

With this, the top four teams in the University Championship are now complete.

The pairings for the semifinals on January 2nd are

Game 1: Tokai University vs. Meiji University

Game 2: Teikyo University vs Kyoto Sangyo University

The first-place teams from the Kanto and Kansai leagues won their matches in order. The next game will be held at the National Stadium in Tokyo, and we hope to see a fierce battle that will blow away the cold.

RUGBY JERSEY – National University Rugby Championship 4th Round

(written by Azul, Decembers 24th, 2021)

The National Collegiate Rugby Championship will begin its fourth round on December 18, 2021, with the first three rounds being played as regional qualifying matches, and the fourth round will be played between the top league teams in each region. As of now, the following three major leagues will appear in the fourth round.

(1) Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group A

(2) Kanto University League Group I

(3) Kansai University A League

In 2021, the top five schools from group (1), the top three schools from group( 2), and the top four schools from group (3) will be eligible to participate. The number of schools in each group will vary based on the results of last year’s and the year before last’s University Championships.

This year’s participating schools

(1) Teikyo University, Waseda University, Meiji University, Keio University, Nippon Taiiku University

(2) Tokai University, Nihon University, Daito Bunka University

3) Kyoto Sangyo University, Kinki University, Tenri University, Doshisha University

And this time, on December 18, I went to watch two games at the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium.

The first match: Kinki University vs Keio University.

The second match was between Nihon University and Nippon Taiiku University.

The weather was fine that day. I would like to say it was a perfect day to watch a rugby match, but the Japanese archipelago was covered by a powerful cold wave from the day before, and the highest temperature in Tokyo was only 8 degrees Celsius. In order to watch the game for four hours from 11:30 to 15:30 under this cold weather, you need to be prepared for the cold. This time, I chose the following equipment.

** Cold weather gear No. 1: Jacket – N-3B **

N-3B made by ALPHA industry, code name = ALASKA. It is the ultimate winter jacket, designed to work even when the temperature is 30 degrees below zero. In Tokyo, I wear it only about three times a year. This time I wore it because I was going to be under the cold air for four hours. The price was 30,000 yen and I personally like it because it looks cool.

** Cold weather gear No. 2: Cargo pants **

No-name brand heating pants made in Japan, although they don’t have the name value of a brand like ALPHA, but they are thick work pants that I bought for extremely cold work. Price: 5,500 yen.

With all this equipment on, we headed for the stadium.

And we arrived at the stadium. The weather was fine and the north wind wasn’t blowing that much, but what was this cold?

The picture above is a statue in front of the entrance to the main stand of the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. The rugby season has finally come to a climax.

First of all, I will briefly introduce both teams of the first game.

** Kinki University Rugby Club **

Founded in 1928. Compared to Keio University, it is an emerging force, but it will soon celebrate its 100th anniversary. It has participated in the National University Championship nine times. They have not won any championships. Although they do not have any players representing Japan, they have produced many players who are active in the top leagues, including Kobe Steel. This season, in the first game of the Kansai University A League, they defeated Tenri University, the last year’s university champion. Although they lost to Kyoto Sangyo University, they finished second in the league and advanced to the University Championship.

** Keio University Rugby Club **

Founded in 1899, Keio University is the root of Japanese rugby. Founded in 1899, the team finished 4th in the Kanto University Rivalry Group and participated in the National University Championship this season. In the early part of this season, the team was not in good shape, losing to Tsukuba University and losing badly to Meiji University, but from the game against Waseda University, the team has gradually started to show its true colors and has been playing good games. One of the characteristics of this team is that when they get into a pressure point, they show their ability to persevere, and the more games they play, the more they gain in the ground. I can’t wait to see how far they will go to win the championship.

Let’s kick off the first game. The starting lineup for the first half is as shown in the photo below.

Although Kinki University is ranked higher than Keio University in terms of league ranking, Keio University dominated the ball in the beginning of the game and pushed the game forward. Unlike the previous games, Keio pushed forward by deploying their backs. SO Nakagusu scored a PG from a foul early in the game, and Keio took the lead at 0-3.

In the first half, Enosa (CTB) broke through the gain line again and again. In response, WTB Miyaso created two decisive chances for Kinki University, but the Keio defense prevented them from scoring. In the first half, Keio had several chances to score, but a series of mistakes in front of the goal prevented them from scoring more points. In the end, the first half ended with Keio leading by three points, 0-3.

Then, the second half began. Two minutes into the second half, Keio takes the kickoff, develops the ball in the opponent’s territory, and on the second attack, Keio FB Yamada cuts in the opposite direction, brilliantly breaks free, and scores a try right under the goal post. The conversion was successful, and Keio took the lead at 0-10.

However, 15 minutes into the second half, Kinki University’s SO Handa did not miss a hole in Keio’s defensive formation and kicked a pass to WTB Ueda, who easily caught it to make the score 5-10, putting Kinki University up by five points. This try quickly reversed the tide in favor of Keio.

Immediately after this, Keio attacked into the opponent’s territory, and a foul by Kinki University led to a PG.

Then, in the 65th minute, Kinki University moved to the left in front of the opponent’s goal. At one point, the Keio defense bounced it back, but Tsujimura, who had just come on as a substitute, pushed it in alone and scored a try. The conversion was unsuccessful, and Kinki University was up by three points, 10-13.

Then came the final moment of the game. In the 79th minute of the game, Kinki University had a chance to tie the game. This was an important PG as it would have tied the game but would have given Kinki University the win according to tournament rules. CTB Fukuyama kicked it, but missed it to the right.

The game ended 10-13, and Keio University will advance to the quarterfinals on December 26 to face Tokai University (1st place in the league group).

After the end of the game, the players of both teams praised each other’s good performance.

This was followed by the second game. University championships are often played as a double header. The first game finished around 1:10 p.m., so we had about an hour break before the second game started. As we waited in this cold weather, the cold air creeping in through the gaps in our warm clothes gradually robbed us of our body heat. I’ll be back to watch the games next week and the week after that, but I’ll have to put on my mountaineering underwear underneath, otherwise the cold will be unbearable for the second game.

Now, here are the two teams for the second game.

** Nihon University Rugby Club **

Second place in the Kanto league group. founded in 1928. Founded in 1928, it has won the Kanto University League Tournament three times. In National university championship they recorded semi-finalist 4 times. It has also produced several Japanese national team players. The team is known as the Hercules Army, and its attacks center on the powerful rush of the FW. In the spring open game against Meiji University, they showed an even fight in the FW battle.

** Nihon Taiiku University Rugby Club  **

5th place in Group A of the Kanto University Rivalry. They have won the University Championship twice and the Japan Championship once. The team has also produced many national team players. However, in recent years, they have not been able to achieve good results, and this will be their first appearance in the University Championship in 13 years. The team’s traditional style is typical running rugby, and they aspire to play rugby where they can run and beat their opponents.

This is the first time I’ve seen NITTAI play this season, but when I saw the pre-match member introductions and saw that the LO player was only 178cn tall, I thought this would be an overwhelming victory for NITTAI. Although Nihon University was ranked 2nd in the Kanto League Group, they had already drawn with Tokai University, who was ranked 1st, and I couldn’t believe that the actual champions of the league would lose to the 5th ranked team in the rivalry group.

However, I hadn’t seen the NITTAI players in a while, and with three foreign students, my impression of them was quite different from what I had in the past.

These three players did a decisive job in the match and made the match very exciting.

** Lissara Mikiloni **

Position: Prop, 185cm, 136kg, from Tonga. As a prop, he exerts tremendous pressure. He is also a utility player who can play lock and No.8. I was amazed when he crushed the scrum of Nihon University, which was evenly matched with Meiji. After he left the team, they were pushed in the scrum by Nihon University. He should be invited to the Japan national team candidate training camp.

** Haratoa Vailea **

Position: No.8, CTB, WTB, from Tonga. He is an all-round player who was selected as one of the best 15 players in the Kanto Rivalry Groups Games. His mood is that of the Italian national team’s Palice. He is also the team’s primary placekicker, and his accurate kicks from the No. 8 position make for some never-before-seen rugby that is too promising to pass up. This player should also be invited to the Japan national team training camp.

** Christian Laui **

Position: WTB, from Tonga, 180cm, 102kg. When he got the ball early in the game, three defenders of Nihon University couldn’t touch him and passed him one after another to score a try. He got the ball early in the game. He was slightly injured in a tackle, and is still a raw gem who has yet to be polished. If he can polish up, he has more potential than Shogo Nakano of Japan representative. Please invite him to the Japan national team candidate training camp.

Then the second game kicked off. From the first spirited moment, Nihon University was filled with the will to win, and they drank their opponent in. In the third minute of the first half, the ball was developed to the right in the enemy’s territory, and after a steady series of short passes, Mizuma, WTB of Nihon University, easily got through for a try. The conversion goal was unsuccessful, and the score was 5-0 in favor of Nihon University.

In the 9th minute of the first half, as soon as Nihon University entered the enemy territory, CTB Quirk easily penetrated the defensive net and connected with No.8 Sione in front of the goal for a try. The conversion goal was successful, and Nihon University led by 12 points at 12-0. At the time, I thought it would be an overwhelming victory for Nihon University, as I had predicted before the game.

However, NITTAI University fought back from here. Of the three international students mentioned at the beginning of this article, prop Mikiloni first crushed Nihon University in the scrum. He won a foul and advanced to the opponent’s goal at once. The score was 12-5, and NITTAI university was seven points ahead.

Then, in the 12th minute of the first half, Nittai University got into the enemy’s territory and moved to the left. The ball went to the WTB player, Lauie, but in front of him, there were several Nihon University defenders who attacked him. He left the second one behind with a big step, then swerved to the left to dodge the third one, and went into a top dash. The acceleration was so fast and overwhelming that the CTB of Nihon University gave up chasing him. What a determined WTB he is!

He scored a try in the left corner to make it 12-10, and Nihon University was within two points. The conversion goal failed.

Then, in the 19th minute. In the 19th minute, the SH of NITTAI University punted high to the back of the opponent. While the WTB of Nihon University was struggling to handle the punt, the WTB of NITTAI University Raui snatched the ball and scored a try. The conversion was also successful, and NITTAI University finally succeeded in turning the game around, 12-17.

The conversion goal was scored by the No. 8 player, Vailea. He is registered as a utility player (CTB, WTB, FB) on the roster, but in this game, he is in the No. 8 position. He reminded me of Warren Boss Ayako, who played for the Sunwolves.

As for Nihon University, I’m sure they were all thinking it wasn’t supposed to be like this. They lost in the scrum, and they lost in the backs’ development game. But even so, the ironclad rule of victory is to find the opponent’s weaknesses and concentrate their attack on them. In the 26th minute of the first half, Nihon University attacked with a maul in front of the enemy’s goal and moved forward. The conversion goal failed. The first half ended with the score tied at 17-17. It was a great effort by NITTAI University.

Then, the game went into the second half. First, six minutes into the second half. In front of the enemy’s goal, Nihon University secured the ball in a lineout, then formed a maul and moved forward. Finally, HO Inoue scored a try in the left corner. The conversion goal failed. 22-17, Nihon University led by 5 points. In the last 10 minutes of the second half, HO Inoue scored consecutive tries in the exact same pattern. The conversion goal failed, but the score was 27-17, and Nihon University led by 10 points. As expected, Nihon University is undefeated this season. Once they found their opponent’s weak points, they attacked them thoroughly.

In the 17th minute of the second half, prop Mikiloni rushed in front of the goal. In the 17th minute of the second half, they attacked in front of the opponent’s goal. The score became 27-22, and NITTAI University was up by 5 points.

However, from this point on, many injuries started to occur at NITTAI University. WTB Raui, No.8 Vailea, and WTB Suzuki were injured and replaced one after another. Oh, come on, are you okay? In the 60th and 74th minutes, Nihon University scored a try and the conversion goal was successful. The final score was 41-22. However, I was impressed by the performance of the three international students from NITTAI University.

Now, the next week, December 26, is the quarterfinals of the University Championship. At this stage, Waseda University vs Meiji University has become a reality. Naturally, advance tickets are sold out. On the same day, tickets for Keio University vs Tokai University and Kyoto Sangyo University vs. Nihon University, which will be held at different venues, are still available in large quantities. What is the difference?

RUGBY JERSEY – Pre-season Match: Toyota Verblitz vs Tokyo Suntory Sangorias

(written by Azul, Decemmber 15th, 2021)

A pre-season match was held between the Toyota Verblitz and the Tokyo Suntory Sangoliath before the new Rugby League, League One will be held next year (January 7th). This match was between two strong teams that have both won the Japanese Championship, so a good match is expected.

And this week’s match was held at Nagara River Stadium in Gifu Prefecture. So, it was a 400km one-way trip from Tokyo to Gifu.

Today’s travel route was Hachioji → Shin-Yokohama → Nagoya → Gifu. At 400 km one way, it’s quite a long trip. We left home at 8:00 a.m. and arrived there at 11:00 a.m. The Shinkansen was very fast.

We left Shin-Yokohama at 9:16a.m. Then, I arrived at Nagoya at 10:39a.m.

Next, I transferred to a regular train on the Tokaido Main Line, the destination was six stops away. We arrived at Gifu Station at 11:00a.m.

It took only 20 minutes from Nagoya Station by train. It was my first visit to Gifu City. The game was scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m., so I spent some time sightseeing in Gifu City.

As you can see in the photo, the area near Gifu Station is lined with high-rise condominiums and has a city-like atmosphere. However, Gifu City is also a castle town, so there are many historical buildings, shrines, and temples. Next time, I would like to stay here and enjoy sightseeing.

The golden statue of Nobunaga Oda shines brilliantly in front of Gifu Station. It really stands out. Perhaps reflecting the times, he is wearing a mask to protect himself from the new corona virus.

Standing on the top of the mountain overlooking the entire town of Gifu is the Gifu Castle. I’ve had the chance to see it many times in TV historical dramas, but seeing it for the first time, I was very impressed.

The photo above was taken from the stadium, but even though I was in the stadium, I felt like I was being overlooked. I had more than two hours before the game started, so I thought I would buy something to commemorate my visit to Gifu, and ended up buying a lottery ticket. On the shinkansen, I read an article on the Internet that gave some tips on how to win the lottery. The one that stuck in my memory was.

According to the staff at the lottery booth, people who buy lottery tickets by saying, “Well, I don’t think I’ll win,” will never win. It’s important to buy with the intention of winning.

I decided to do a search on my smartphone using the three keywords “Gifu City,” “lottery,” and “win”. I found a lottery ticket booth in front of the Don Quijote shopping center in the city, which is famous in Gifu Prefecture, so I went there to buy one. I heard that it was a famous lottery ticket office that had once produced a first prize winner of one billion yen. It took me 20 minutes to get there on foot, but it was indeed a famous store. When I lined up, there was already a line. If I win one billion yen, I would like to go to all the rugby matches in the world and watch them.

Now, I took a city bus to the stadium. This bus also has a picture of Nobunaga Oda’s wife, Princess Nohime on it. It took 30 minutes from the station to the stadium. Finally, we arrived at the Nagara River Stadium. The stadium is located very close to the bus stop, so you won’t get lost.

The Nagara River Stadium came into view. This stadium is used as the home stadium of FC Gifu of the J2 soccer league. It has a capacity of 26,109 people. Today’s match was planned to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Gifu Shimbun. According to the organizers, the number of visitors today was about 6,200. I remember that after RWC 2019, the Chukyo area gained a lot of new fans. I remember that before the new Corona, we had over 30,000 fans for the opening match at Toyota Stadium. It is a pity that without the new Corona, there would have been an unprecedented rugby boom.

The stadium is quite magnificent. The fact that you can see Gifu Castle in the distance is wonderful. Both teams have assembled their squads for today’s match with a focus on young players.

The main big names who will not be playing today were

TOYOTA: Kazuki Himeno (Japan national team), Kaito Shigeno (Japan national team), Taiji Takahashi (Japan national team candidate), Etzebeth (South Africa national team), Willie le Roux (South Africa national team)

SUNTORY: Yutaka Nagare (Japan national team), Ryodo Nakamura (Japan national team), Shogo Nakano (Japan national team), Tevita Tatafu (Japan national team), Damian McKenzie (New Zealand national team)

Of these, I was quite disappointed not to see Etzveth and McKenzie. Let’s wait for the opening of the tournament.

First, a brief introduction of the two teams.

Toyota Verblitz: Finished 3rd in the top league last season, aiming to become the first champion of the League One with the addition of South African national team member Etzebeth for the 2022 season.

Tokyo Suntory Sangorias: The runners-up in the Top League last season, they will be aiming to become the first League One champion this season with the addition of New Zealand’s Damien McKenzie.

Let’s kick off.

Suntory’s CTB Kerevi broke away and scored a try right away. The world’s strongest CTB Kerevi mixed in with their mainly young players, showing the difference in power. The conversion kick succeeded, and Suntory led 0-7.

As it was a preseason match, I expected the two teams to trade points as their defensive networks were not well developed. However, contrary to our expectations, both teams persisted in front of the goal and the first half ended with Suntory holding the early lead, 0-7.

Then came halftime. Shinya, a rugby comedian from the Teikyo University Rugby Club, appeared on the field.

He also started appearing on TV, and has become quite well known to the public. He made the stands laugh with his light-hearted talk show. At the end of his performance, he made a wave and circled the ground as fast as he could. As expected, he was out of breath by the end.

I was also surprised to see that he acted as a line judge in the game after this all-out sprint. Well, Shinya is working hard.

Then the game went into the second half.

Even in the second half, Suntory’s defensive network was as ironclad as ever. It looks like Suntory is going to be strong again this year. However, as it was a pre-season match, the team made a lot of changes of players, and as expected, there were some holes in the ironclad defense. Toyota’s CTB Nakano scored a try and the team fought back. The final score was 14-26 in favor of Suntory. Both teams were missing some of their main players, but Suntory’s SH Naoto Saito( Japan National Team) came on in the second half to excite the crowd.

The game was over. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to watch a working men’s league game live, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the new league to start in January.

Then I went straight to my day trip. Gifu is a city with a wonderful atmosphere that really gives you a sense of history. It would be a shame to leave it like this.

The game ended around 15:10p.m. The shinkansen departed from Nagoya at 5:06 p.m., so I had enough time to have dinner on the way.

The photo above is a LEGO BLOCK of Gifu Castle at the tourist information center in front of the station, and even though it was December, it was a warm day to watch the game.

I took this photo in front of Nagoya station just before boarding the bullet train. This is the second time I’ve been to Nagoya. Last time, I came here to support the soccer team. I bought some food in front of the station and boarded the Shinkansen. The next game is scheduled for December 18. I will be watching the quarterfinal match of the National University Rugby Championship at the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo. I hope for a good game and good weather.

** Jerseys Collection 51 **

Rugby France national team jersey. Sold at E-BAY for 3,980 yen plus 4,000 yen for shipping. Personally, I think there are many masterpieces in the adidas jerseys that were worn just before Lecoq, the current sponsor of the French national team jersey. The color of this jersey is a subdued dark blue, so you’ll have a lot of opportunities to wear it as everyday wear.

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

(written by Azul, Decembers 5th, 2021)

This time (December 4th), I went to the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium to watch the final game of the Kanto University Rugby Tournament, Teikyo University vs Keio University. Since it was already December, I went out in a completely cold-weather style, but it felt so warm that it was hard to believe. The temperature was about 13 degrees Celsius, but the north wind wasn’t blowing at all, so I didn’t feel cold as long as I stayed in the sun.

Let me start by introducing the two teams.

Keio University Rugby Club: The first rugby club in Japan, founded in 1899. It has won the National University Championship five times and the Japan Championship once.

Compared with Waseda University and Meiji University, which are the same traditional schools, the number of championships is small. In the case of Keio University Rugby Club, there is almost no preferential treatment in the entrance examination even if there is a recommendation entrance examination quota, so in order to join the club, you have to pass the entrance examination of Keio University, which is a prestigious university, so it is difficult for famous high school rugby players to enter. When this team becomes strong, it will be when the attached high school participates in the national tournament. The team’s uniform is a yellow and black striped jersey. Because of this color, they are commonly called the Tiger Army.

The style of play used to be the same as England’s, with high punts and forwards running in to win the ball. This was a very muddy style, as it was difficult to acquire promising high school rugby football players, so the forwards had to practice hard to build up their physical strength and catch up with the rival schools. In recent years, there has been an increase in open attacks by the backs. However, their strength is still inconsistent. The good times and the bad times are clear.

Teikyo University Rugby Club: This will be my third time watching a Teikyo University game this season. If they win this game, they will be the sole winner of Group A of the Kanto University Rivalry for the first time since 2017. In the case of Teikyo University’s rugby team, the university’s policy of using a large number of recommended admission slots makes it easier to acquire promising high school rugby football players compared to Keio University. It is the same environment for other private universities, but thanks to the recent 9 consecutive university championships, many promising high school players have come to Teikyo University. Teikyo University’s style of play is versatile, with a strong FW team and backs who have the ability to develop and make individual decisions.

Last year, Teikyo University lost a close game to Keio University. The Keio University team has already lost three times, but for Teikyo University, which is undefeated this season, Keio University will be a tricky opponent.

When I went to the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, there were few spectators. I think this match is a pretty good card. Waseda University vs. Keio University last week was packed, but what is this difference? Compared to Waseda, Meiji, and Keio, Teikyo fans are still small.

The game started. One of Teikyo University’s concerns is that Hosoki, who was the main player in their dominant scrum victories over Waseda and Meiji, is injured this time. The first try was scored by lock Motohashi(Teikyo ), who broke through Keio defenses, and FB Nimura, who followed him, scored a try right under the goal post. The conversion gave Teikyo a 7-0 lead. This was only one minute after the start of the game. It looked like Teikyo University was going to win the game. But in the first half, Keio University started to make a show. In the fourth minute of the first half, as they had done in the previous game against Waseda University, they formed a maul from a lineout in front of the enemy goal line and skillfully moved the maul to score a try. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was tied at 7-7.

In the 17th minute of the first half, Keio University struck again. Keio University again moves forward in front of the opponent’s goal line in a maul. This time, however, hooker Harada took the ball out from the tail end of the maul, flowed sideways, and passed two Teikyo defenders to score a try near the goal posts. The conversion goal was also successful, and Keio University took a 7-point lead at 7-14.

Then, in the 22nd minute of the first half, Keio University makes a hard tackle. Teikyo University was unable to get forward due to Keio University’s hard tackling, but after developing from near the 22m line on the left edge of enemy territory, prop Okuno easily slipped through and scored a try near the center of the goal. The conversion goal was also successful, making the score 14-14 in favor of Teikyo University.

It was a great game, with Keio University putting up a good fight.

In the 36th minute, the first half was about to end. right in front of the opponent’s goal, Teikyo University deployed the right side of the field, and CTB Shiwachi used his individual skills to get past three members of Keio’s defense, and went around the center of the goal post to score a try. The conversion goal was also successful, and Teikyo was up 21-14.

The first half ended with the score at 21-14. It was a spectacular game that defied expectations of an overwhelming victory for Teikyo. Keio’s driving maul was not broken, even though the Teikyo side had studied it beforehand. Will Keio University be able to keep the game close?

Then, the second half started. At the beginning of the second half, Teikyo University chose to play PG after inviting a foul by the opponent. Teikyo showed a cautious approach to the game, perhaps thinking that today’s game would be tense. The goal was successful and Teikyo led by 10 points, 24-14.

Next, 10 minutes into the second half. The forwards skillfully passed the ball to prop Okuno, who dodged Keio’s defense and pushed through to pass to lock Eriguchi for a try at the bottom of the goal post. The conversion goal was also scored, and the score was 31-14. The prop of Teikyo University runs very well and accelerates quickly when he gets through. This is one of Teikyo University’s strengths that other universities do not have.

At this point, Teikyo University seemed to have found a hole in Keio’s defense, and Teikyo University’s try rush began. Specifically, SO Takamoto moves around and displaces the opponent’s defense when developing, so Keio is unable to make a strong tackle from the front as in the first half. The result was a series of tries. It was not only Teikyo’s SO Takamoto, but also other players who were receiving passes, who responded by shifting their marks, showing the comprehensive ability of the Teikyo players to adapt.

Among the many tries scored in the second half, the try by Teikyo WTB Takamoto in the 59th minute amazed the entire crowd. It was an amazing run of over 80 meters by Takamoto.

In the end, Teikyo University scored 6 tries in the second half and scored 43 more points, making the final score 64-14, a difference of 50 points.

** Jerseys Collection 50 **

Replica jersey of the Western Samoa national team, probably made in the early 1990s. Made by Canterbury. Sold on Yahoo Auction for 8,000 yen.

The Samoan national team (formerly known as Western Samoa) dominated the 1991 and 1995 RWCs, finishing in the top eight in both. This jersey is a staple item among collectors, but it is hard to find, and I have lost three auctions in the past. The price is rather high for a used item, but in the end, I had a bidding war with a reseller, and the price went up from 2000 yen to 8000 yen. But I was happy to get this jersey because it was in good condition even though it was used.