Urayasu D-Rocks VS Toyota Industries Corporation Shuttles Aichi
(Author: Azul, April 20, 2023)
On 9 April 2023, the Japan Rugby League One Division 2 standings began on this date. The league matches, which were played over the last week, will decide the three teams in the top group and the three teams in the bottom group. Thereafter, within each group, a round-robin competition will be played to determine the final standings. Therefore, even if a team finishes first in the Division 2 league matches, it will finish third if it loses the ranking round again.
The top groups in Division 2 are,
Urayasu D-ROCKS: 10 wins-0 losses- 1st place
Honda HEATS: 8 wins, 2 losses – 2nd place
Toyota Shuttles: 6 wins, 4 losses – 3rd place
The three teams are. This time I went to watch the Urayasu D-ROCKS vs Toyota Shuttles match.
The venue was Yumenoshima Athletics Stadium in Koto-ku, Tokyo, a six-minute walk from Shinkiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line, which was easily accessible from the station.
The capacity of the Yumenoshima Athletics Stadium is 5,050 people. The number of visitors on that day was 1,388
Let me now introduce the two teams playing on the day.
First, let me introduce the home team, Urayasu D-ROCKS.
Last season, they were relegated from Division 1 to Division 2 and have been fighting for promotion back to Division 1 this season. D-ROCKS, who have won 10-0 so far without any problems, will be looking to finish first in this round of the play-offs and head into the replacement round.
The starting line-up for D-ROCKS on this day was as follows.
|3||Syuhei Takeuchi||183cm||115kg||25||Japan 2cap|
|4||Ryong Ji KIM||192cm||107kg||28|
|8||Liam GILL||185cm||103kg||23||Australia 15cap|
|13||Shane GATES||183cm||95kg||30||Japan 4cap|
|15||Takuhei YASUDA||177cm||80kg||26||Japan 2cap|
The team members were almost the same as in the last match of the league.
** Player to watch **.
Shane GATES. 183 cm, 95 kg, 30 years old. From South Africa. Position = CTB; Japan caps = 4. Joined Urayasu D-Rocs after Super Rugby’s Kings and Sun Wolves; first selected as a national team candidate in 2019, but suffered a serious injury in a match that same year that took 21 months to fully heal. After a long rehabilitation process, his indomitable fighting spirit saw him selected again for the national team. On this day, GATES earned a total of 50 caps for D-ROCKS (including its predecessor, Shining Arcs). Congratulations to him.
Then, I would like to introduce the Visitor Team of the day, the Toyota Shuttles.
Last season, the team was in Division 3, but after being promoted this season, they quickly moved up in Division 2 and are aiming for promotion to Division 1 next season. It is remarkable that this team has made it this far despite the fact that few of its players have represented their respective countries. We can’t take our eyes off them to see how far they can go.
The starting line-up for the day was as follows.
|TOYOTA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION SHUTTLES AICHI|
|5||James GASKELL||201cm||118kg||32||England 1cap|
|12||Josh MATAVESI||188cm||120kg||32||Fiji 24cap|
** Player to watch **
Josh MATAVESI.(Player standing to the left of the referee in the middle of the photo) 188 cm, 120 kg, 32 years old. Position = SO, WTB, CTB, FB. 24cap for Fiji. played in RWC 2015 and 2019. Despite being a giant of a man weighing 120 kg, he is a utility player who can play any position in BK except SH, and is outstanding when it comes to speed and breaking through.
Let’s get the match underway.
1 minute of the first half:
Shortly after the kick-off to start the game, a ball kicked in by Shuttles is secured by a player from his own team, who inadvertently floats it backwards and was intercepted by D-ROCKS’ FL TUPOU. As it was, TUPOU slipped behind the Shuttles’ defensive net and passed to FB YASUDA, who ran straight into the opposition in-goal for the first no-whistle try.
The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 7-0 to D-ROCKS.
3 minutes into the first half:
The ball from the kick-off after the try was first caught by a D-ROCKS player. From here, the D-Rocks FW players connected, but the Shuttles defence was not tackling well and the D-Rocks players made one off-load pass after another to push forward, and finally a Shuttles player made a tackle, leading to a ruck, from which SH IINUMA passed to WTB SULUNGA, who advanced at full stretch, and as he approached the in-goal, he got tangled up with the opposition defence, but rolled a golo punt into the in-goal,and held it himself in the middle right of the in-goal to score a try. It was a series of no-whistle tries, which was rarely seen in professional matches. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 14-0.
The Shuttles players seemed to be fired up after this series of tries and the game was deadlocked for a while afterwards. However, the D-Rocks continued to attack from start to finish.
29 minutes of the first half:
The D-Rocks FWs dominated the game at set pieces, launching a number of successive attacks and gradually closing in on the opposition’s in-goal. Here, LO ERASMUS dragged one of the opposition defenders behind him and scored a try right in the middle. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 21-0.
When the home team D-Rocks scored a try, the D-Rocks cheerleaders performed a joyous dance, as shown in the photo above.
40 minutes of the first half:
It looked like it was going to end in a one-sided D-Rocks victory, but the Shuttles gained control of the ball and pushed deep into enemy territory when D-Rocks’ FL SHIGEMATSU was temporarily sent off for an infringement. Here, the Shuttles secured the ball from a lineout on their own ball, and the Shuttles developed from the pack and the ball was passed from CTB MATAVESI to WTB SAITO, who scored a try just under the goal posts. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, making the score 21-7.
Also. Towards the end of the first half, D-Rocks prop TAKEUCHI committed an infringement and was temporarily sent off for 10 minutes. This meant that D-Rocks were without two of their frontrunners at the start of the second half, giving the Shuttles a chance to get back into the game. Expectations are high for a second half turnaround.
At this point, it was half-time. The match venue, Koto Athletics Stadium, is a short distance from Haneda Airport, and passenger planes passed overhead several times during the match.
Now it’s time for the second half to begin.
4 minutes into the second half:
With D-ROCKS temporarily down to two retired players, it was time for the SHUTTLES to take advantage of the game. However, despite this handicap, D-ROCKS showed their strength in the local battles. Particularly noticeable was the ability of the D-ROCKS backs players to break through. The individual skills of FB YASUDA were particularly impressive: when the SHUTTLES kicked deep into enemy territory, FB YASUDA was able to get past five or six men and quickly get in front of the goal. The D-ROCKS players are big compared to the SHUTTLES players, so when they accelerated and got the ball, the SHUTTLES defence couldn’t stop them.
The conversion goal after the try was also successful and the score, 28-7.
8 minutes into the second half:
The SHUTTLES got their own scrum just over the enemy 10m line after an infringement by their opponents, and from there the ball went to the left. Left wing WTB NAKANO made a great run down the left line, dodging one of the opposition defenders and scoring a try on the left edge of the enemy in-goal. The conversion goal after the try failed and the score was 28-12.
D-ROCKS have many larger players compared to SHUTTLES, so they showed their strength in the contact phases of the game and used offload passing to connect the ball. However, there were many penalties throughout the game. In order to win the replacement game, they will need to reduce the number of infringements.
In response, the SHUTTLES tried to break through in the form of quickly deploying the ball before making contact in attack. When this attack was successful and the ball was connected to the WTB, the crowd was captivated by several tricky moves that came into play along the way. It was a very well-designed attack. However, against the D-ROCKS, the defence did not work and allowed several decisive breakthroughs.
26 minutes of the second half:
In the second half, the SHUTTLES’ defenders started to function, preventing the D-ROCKS from making significant gains. With the game now stalemated and the score stuck, D-ROCKS were able to force a foul on their opponents in front of the opposition goal, where they opted to go for a PG. This was scored by SO CRIPPS, making the score 31-12.
This was the final score, and D-ROCKS beat SHUTTLES to take the first round of the play-offs, and will now play HONDA HEAT for the Division 2 title in the second round on 22 Apr.
And the SHUTTLES were denied by two consecutive no-win tries early in the match, which proved to be the deciding factor. However, if they show defensive tenacity in the second half, they could turn the tables in the replacement round. We are now looking forward to the changeover game.
After the match, the D-ROCKS players who were not in the game today saw us off as we left the stadium.
This is former Japan national team lock Thompson LUKE. Japan national team cap=71.
World famous player Israel FOLAU. He has a cap of 73 for Australia.
I am a big fan of FOLAU and was thrilled to see him up close.
Stop the war.
Peace to Ukraine