(Author: Azul, September 24th, 2022)
Kanto Intercollegiate Rugby reached its second round on September 18. This time, I watched the match between Waseda University and Tsukuba University in Group A of the Kanto Intercollegiate Rugby League. The venue this time was the Earthcare Shikishima Soccer/Rugby Stadium in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture.
The distance from Hachioji City, Tokyo, where I live, to Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, is 110 km. However, there are not many trains running on this section of road, so it took me a long time to reach my destination.
After all, there is only one train running every hour, so if you miss a train connection, it will take about an extra hour.
I left my house at 8:00 a.m. and arrived at my destination, Maebashi City, at 11:30 a.m., one hour before kickoff. I had no choice but to take a cab to the stadium because there were no buses running even though it was an hour before the game. The fare was 1,800 yen. It was an unplanned expense for transportation.
Furthermore, a typhoon had hit the Kanto area that day, so it was raining heavily. My original plan was to arrive at the stadium early and watch the game under the roof of the main stand, but it was already occupied by local spectators.
I had no choice but to watch the game on the grass in the back stand, wearing a rain coat. It had been raining for a long time, so it was physically demanding to watch the game.
Now, let me introduce today’s opposing teams.
Waseda University (2nd place last season in the league 2021) vs. University of Tsukuba (6th place last season in the league 2021)
Waseda was the better team last year, but Tsukuba has a better team this year, and according to newspaper reports before the match, a close match was expected.
Let me give you an update on both teams.
First, let me introduce the Waseda University Rugby Club, which will be the home team in this match.
The team is one of the most popular and traditional teams in Japan. The team’s attacking style is traditionally “close, continuous, and deployed”. The student team changes players every year, so the strengths of the team change from year to year, but Waseda University’s lifeblood is its development rugby, which utilizes the entire field.
Waseda’s tactic is to study the opposing team well before the match, so it will be interesting to see how they fight in the first half of the match.
The starting lineup for today’s match is as follows.
＊＊Players to watch ＊＊
Kenji SATO. 177 cm, 108 kg, 19 years old. Position＝Hokker, No.8. He is a graduate of Toin Gakuen High School in Kanagawa Prefecture. He is a strong player at Waseda University, where he has been a regular since his freshman year. Last season, he played as No.8, but this season, he will lead the entire FW as a hooker. How close Waseda’s FW will be to Meiji and Teikyo, which have strong FWs in the second half of the season, will rests on his shoulders.
Next, I would like to introduce the visiting team, the University of Tsukuba Rugby Club.
Developmental attack rugby, similar to that of Waseda, will be the team color of Tsukuba. The team’s characteristic is to fight through strong opponents with tenacity. This season’s team has no holes in both FW and BK, and in fact, the FW has been outstanding in recent years. Will they be able to win their matches in the rivalry group and advance to the University Championship?
Today’s starting lineup is as follows
|4||Kodai Sean YOKOMIZO||187cm||88kg||20|
＊＊ Players to watch ＊＊
Ryotaro ASAMI. 178cm, 90kg, 20 years old. Position = CTB, SO. A player who can lead the strong Tsukuba BK team and play a decisive role in scoring points in the game. He sees the breakdown of the opposing defense and uses precise passing, kicking, and running.
The match kicked off at 15:00.
2 minutes into the first half:
It was Waseda who scored the first score.
Immediately after the kickoff, both teams started cautiously, kicking the ball deep into the opponents’ territory. Waseda’s SO Yoshimura kicked the ball from deep in their own territory, and Tsukuba’s FB Uemura tried to kick it back. Waseda’s SO Yoshimura successfully charged down the ball. Waseda’s FWs rushed in and connected with the ball, and finally NO.8 Sagara scored a try right under the goal post. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, and Waseda scored first to make the score 7-0.
9 minutes into the first half:
Perhaps due to the wet and muddy ground, Tsukuba was infringed for intentionally collapsing a scrum. The penalty kick was 10 meters from the goal post, so Waseda opted to go for the PG. SO Yoshimura scored the PG to make the score 10-0.
28 minutes into the first half:
Tsukuba took advantage of a lineout and a lineout.
Tsukuba was able to go toe-to-toe with Waseda in the lineout and in the densely contested battle, and were able to make some headway. However, Tsukuba was pushed down by Waseda at every scrum on the day. In last week’s match against Meiji University, they had never been pushed down so far in the scrums, so this was probably a result of Waseda’s prior research.
Then, when Waseda attacked deep into Tsukuba’s camp, Tsukuba was penalized for a high tackle. The spot where this foul was committed was also right in front of the goal post, about 15 meters away, so Waseda chose to go for the PG again. The SO Yoshimura of Waseda scored to make the score 13-0.
37 minutes into the first half:
Waseda attacked into Tsukuba’s territory, and on the right side of Tsukuba’s 22m line, Tsukuba was fouled by a scrum on their own ball. Here, Waseda again opted for the PG, and the SO Yoshimura scored it to make the score 16-0 in Waseda’s favor.
41 minutes into the first half:
Tsukuba was pushed back in the scrum and lost the ball.
Tsukuba had been creating a vicious cycle of pushing and losing in the scrums, which in turn led to mistakes in their own attack.
Deep in their own territory, Tsukuba dropped the ball, and Waseda hooker Satoh picked it up and drove straight ahead. Waseda’s Satoh did not look very fast in the way he ran, but in fact, he carried the ball deep into the opponents’ camp at speed. Waseda’s BK players connected with this ball, and finally the SH Miyao of Waseda took it into the in-goal, but Tsukuba’s defenders prevented him from doing so.
However, Tsukuba kicked the ball from the in-goal, and Waseda connected from the left edge of the enemy line. Finally, No.8 Sagara dribbled the ball with his foot, moved forward, and held it at the right side of the goal post for a try. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, and Waseda finished the first half 23-0.
Looking back at the first half, this match was expected to be close, but as it turned out, Waseda scored one-sidedly. As for Tsukuba, they showed some good attacks at times, but they could not win the ball at all at the scrum for set plays, so they could not create their own attacking rhythm. Will Tsukuba be able to recover in the second half by taking advantage of their strengths?
Let’s start the second half.
University of Tsukuba replaced the right prop Kurasaki with Tanaka in order to regroup from the scrum that was being held up.
10 minutes into the second half.
In this period, Waseda attacked into Tsukuba’s territory and had to scrum again. Tsukuba replaced the right prop with Tanaka, but as usual, they were pushed into the field. In the ensuing scrum, Waseda made a series of handling errors, which did not lead to a score, but Tsukuba continued to barely prevent an additional score.
22 minutes into the second half:
Waseda was fouled, and Tsukuba got the ball from there. No.8 Taniyama kicked the ball from deep in his own half, and it went out beyond the opponent’s 22m line. This was the application of the 50-22 rule, and Tsukuba got the right of the lineout for their own ball deep in the right end of the opponents’ line.
Tsukuba secured their own ball, and then formed a maul to move forward at a dash. Tsukuba then ran into the in-goal and scored a try in the middle of the field on the right. The try was scored by hooker Hida. The conversion goal after the try failed. The score was 23-5, and Tsukuba scored their first points of the match.
31 minutes into the second half:
With the try, Tsukuba tried to move forward in a similar pattern, and had a lineout opportunity at the right end of the enemy 22m line. From there, Tsukuba again formed a maul to advance. Waseda tried to prevent Tsukuba from scoring in the same pattern, and they persisted in front of the goal. However, Tsukuba’s backs joined the maul and scored a try in the in-goal, right in the middle of the field. The try was scored by Tsukuba’s WTB Ohata. The conversion goal after the try was missed. The score was 23-10.
37 minutes into the second half:
Waseda had dominated the score in the first half, but now Tsukuba had taken control of the match. This was a typical example of how a match can be unpredictable until the very end. It was interesting to watch.
Three times, Tsukuba had a chance to take the ball inside the 22-meter line. In other words, Tsukuba avoided the scrums, which were their weak point on the day, and built their attack around the lineout, which was their forte, and as a result, they pulled the game out of the game.
As for Waseda, it was humiliating to be scored three times in the same attacking style, so they were determined and wanted to stop it. However, Tsukuba advanced with this maul attack with everyone, not only the FW but also the BK. Finally, Tsukuba’s hooker Hiraisihi, who came on as a substitute, scored a try in the right center of the enemy’s in-goal. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 23-17.
38 minutes into the second half:
With less than two minutes remaining in the half, the score was 23-17.
With less than two minutes remaining, the crowd began to murmur in unison. Would Waseda continue to dominate? Or would Tsukuba score a try and a goal to complete the comeback victory? At this point, Waseda, who had the ball at this point, tried to advance by continuously developing the ball.
When the continuous attack reached around the 5th phase, Waseda kicked the ball outward as time was running out. At that moment, the referee blew the whistle to end the game.
Waseda got their second win, albeit a hard-fought one. Tsukuba lost the match, but they got one winning point since they lost by less than seven points.
We would like to thank both teams for showing us a heated game in spite of the bad weather.
＊＊ Jersey Collection 64 ＊＊
2019 RWC England jersey replica. Classic style long sleeve jersey. Embroidered on the right sleeve with the RWC 2003 winning cup. Made by Canterbury of New Zealand. I got it on Mercari for ¥3,980.00. The price of the 2019 RWC replica jersey has been slow to drop, but it has finally come down to ¥3,980. I personally think around 4,000 yen is a fair price for a used jersey.
Stop the war.
Peace to Ukraine