RUGBY JERSEY – Japan Rugby League One Round 1 – Tokyo Sangoliath vs Tokyo Brave Lupus

(written by Azul, January 13th, 2022)

Rugby, one of the professional sports in Japan, has started as “Japan Rugby League One” from 2022.

In comparison to the Top League era

In the Top League, 16 teams participate, and in League One, all 12 teams participate.

In the Top League era, each team played 11 matches a year in a league format. The top eight teams then played in a tournament to determine the winner.

In League One, each team plays six games a year in the Home & Away format. The top four teams will then play in a tournament to determine the winner.

There is a plan for the winning team to play an exchange match with the winning club of the league overseas (details to be determined).

Until 2020, the Sunwolves from Japan participated in the Super Rugby of the southern hemisphere in parallel with the Top League, but this team has now disappeared.

The Sunwolves’ participation in Super Rugby, the world’s premier professional league, had the role of strengthening the Japanese national rugby team, but with the disappearance of the Sunwolves, this role has come to be demanded of League One. As a result, we have signed a number of famous overseas players to help raise the level of professional rugby league in Japan.

Each team has many players at the national level, and fans can expect to see high-level matches. In League One, each team will be required to make a community-based sales effort as an independently financed professional team rather than a corporate team as in the past.

On January 7, the opening game of the League One season was scheduled to be played at the National Stadium in Tokyo, between Kubota Spears Funabashi-Tokyo Bay and Saitama Wild Knights. However, the game was cancelled due to the outbreak of a number of new corona cases in the Wild Knights. Therefore, the next day, January 8, became the actual opening day of the League One. I went to watch the game between Tokyo Suntory Sangorias and Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo at the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu City.

The photo above is a publicity poster that was posted at Fuchu Station. Both Sungoliath and Brave Lupus have their training grounds in Fuchu City, so this game is also called the Fuchu Derby. Both teams are popular, so we expect a good game.

The game was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. Before the game, I stopped by Fuchu Station to make a New Year’s visit. Fuchu City has the historic Okunitama Shrine in front of the station, and there was a good crowd on January 8th.

I went there to pray for good health and safety in my home. Afterwards, I drew a fortune at the shrine. The number that came out of the box was “44,” and I had a bad feeling about it. Because I had gotten a “bad” fortune before, and had gotten very sick that year. When I exchanged this “44” for a fortune, the fortune in the picture below came out.

Oh, as long as it’s not “bad luck,” I’m fine. Thank goodness.

Now, let’s go to Tokyo Stadium. I found something interesting in front of the station. The mayor of Fuchu City is a former member of Rikkyo University’s rugby club, and the city is planning to revitalize itself with rugby as “Rugby City Fuchu. There was a commemorative monument in front of the station.

Then, I took the Keio Line from Fuchu Station to Tobitakyu Station. This was the main venue for the RWC 2019, and I watched many games at the Tokyo Stadium. More than two years later, I was able to watch rugby games at this stadium again. Thanks to the new corona outbreak, the rugby boom in Japan has been put on hold.

In 2019, the RWC flag was flown at the ticket gate of Tobitakyu Station, but now the flag of FC Tokyo, a J1 League soccer team based in this stadium, is hung. FC Tokyo’s flag is now hanging.

This square in front of the station was crowded with foreign supporters during the RWC, but as expected, not so many spectators have come.

Still, it was nostalgic to walk along this street. It took me about seven or eight minutes to get to the stadium.

As I was walking, I noticed that the city of Chofu changed the manhole cover to RWC use to commemorate the RWC.

The Tokyo Stadium came into view. It’s quite crowded. Today’s game is between two teams that both play at Tokyo Stadium, but today is treated as a home game for Sungoliath.

Fortunately, the temperature today was 13 degrees Celsius and there was no wind, making it feel like spring. That’s great for the spectators.

The stadium is usually named Ajinomoto Stadium, but during the RWC, we couldn’t use the corporate name, so we called it Tokyo Stadium.

Here are the opposing teams for this match.

** Tokyo Suntory Sangorias **

Runner-up in the Top League last season. They are the candidates for the League One championship this season, with nine current Japanese national team players, two Australian national team players, and one New Zealand national team player. The team has a strong attacking core in both FW and BK, and boasts the No.1 attacking power in the league.

** Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo **

Ranked 9th in the Top League last season. A prestigious team that has won the Japan Championship six times. The team has four current Japanese national team players. The team’s color is based on the breakthrough power of its powerful FW players. In this match, the team is looking for the humiliation of losing last year’s match.

Entering Tokyo Stadium for the first time in two years and four months, the excitement of the 2019 RWC still comes back to me. I am happy to be able to watch the match here again.

Before the start of the match, League One was declared open by President Tamazuka. Since yesterday’s opening game was cancelled, the opening declaration was made at this day’s game.

The main attraction for the spectators was the appearance of NZ’s Mackenzie, who is the highlight of the season. At 177cm tall and 78kg, he is small for a rugby player, but he is one of the core players of the All Blacks, so his every move attracted a lot of attention. The number of visitors for the day was announced to be 10,075.

The match kicked off at 15:30.

Suntory Sungoliath, the home team, took the lead in the match. From a ruck in enemy territory, the ball went right through FB McKenzie to WTB Ozaki who scored a try on the left side. McKenzie’s first conversion goal was missed, but the score was 5-0 in favor of Sungoliath.

Eight minutes into the first half, Toshiba Brave Lupus struck back. From a lineout in enemy territory, a series of attacks led by the FW team resulted in a try by 19-year-old rookie LO Deans, who dragged an opponent under the goal posts. Deans is a 2-meter LO, a long-awaited player for the Japanese national team. He is only 19 years old, but I hope that he will continue to grow and become a key player for the national team.

After the try, the Blave Lupus scored a conversion goal to make the score 5-7 in favor of Japan.

In the 15th minute of the first half, the Sungoliath got a PG opportunity, and FB McKenzie scored his first goal in Japan. The score was 8-7, a one-point lead for the Sungoliath. The game was a scrappy affair, with both sides exchanging points.

Here is a quick look at the scoring sequence.

17th minute: Brave Lupas’s new LO Pierce kicked the ball over the goal line for a try. The conversion goal is successful. The score is 8-14.

After this, both teams scored a PG. The score was 11-17.

26th minute: Sungoliath attacked, WTB Ozaki broke away from the right side, and №8 McMahon scored a try. The conversion goal was successful. The score is now 18-17 and Sungoliath has turned the game around.

28min: Sungoliath deploys BK in their own half, but the ball is dropped. Toshiba’s WTB Naikabura picked up the ball and scored a try. The conversion goal was also successful. The score was 18-24, and Toshiba was back on top.

The score was 18-24 in favor of Brave Lupas, and the two teams scored a PG each to take the lead at the end of the first half, 24-27.

In last year’s matchup, Brave Lupas suffered a humiliating defeat by nearly 70 points, so they were fired up for this game.

In the second half, Sungoliath’s No.8, McMahon, played a big role.

He scored consecutive tries in the 4th and 9th minutes to complete his hat-trick for the day. With his efforts, the score was 36-27 and Suntory took a 9-point lead.

Soon after, Brave Lupas’s LO Pierce scored his second try of the day to put Sungoliath on the back foot. However, Sungoliath’s attackers began to show their true colors. Brave Lupas scored a try and Sungoliath scored three more, and by the 29th minute of the second half, the score was 60-34.

After the game was almost decided, Toshiba scored two more tries and the final score was 60-46 in favor of Suntory in the opening game.

By the way, Suntory’s player base is too thick compared to other teams. Here are some of the problems I see.

*Japan national team candidate CTB Kajimura, who used to be a member of Suntory, moved to Eagles in search of playing opportunities.

*Japan national team CTB Nakano wants to gain experience as a   CTB, but the team is too thick. He has been playing as a WTB for a while. As a WTB, he moves like a WTB of the past, i.e., if he is a left WTB, he rarely moves to the other side. The modern WTB is required to appear in any direction, right or left, when the opportunity arises. Suntory’s CTB is Nakamura, a steadfast CTB for Japan, and another CTB is Australia national ‘s Kerevi, so there is no room for Nakano at the moment.

*McKenzie, who joined from the NZ national team this season, is hoping to play SO for Japan, and has been a stalwart SO for the Chiefs in Super Rugby until last year. At 178 cm, McKenzie is more suited to the SO position. He throws a great pass that no one else can imitate, and I hope the Sungoliath players will learn that skill. Japanese BK players’ flying passes have a mountainous trajectory, but McKenzie’s passes fly in a straight line, even over long distances.

** Jersey Collection 52 **

This is not a replica model, but it is a jersey created in France colors. adidas original product. The basic color is blue with the three lines of the French flag in blue, white and red. This item in the photo was purchased for 3,980 yen at Yahoo Auction. It is a used product. If you buy it new, it will cost you more than 10,000 yen.

RUGBY JERSEY – National University Rugby Championship Semifinals

(written by Azul, January 8th, 2022)

Happy New Year!

As the first rugby game of the year 2022, I went to see the semifinal game of the National University Rugby Championship at the New National Stadium in Tokyo on January 2nd. Today’s game started at 12:25. This is the second time I have been to the New National Stadium. I haven’t had much of a chance to visit this stadium since the Tokyo Olympics was a no-show game.

A brief overview of the new national stadium:.

The National Stadium was built as the main stadium for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and was renovated after the 2020 Olympics were decided. The capacity is 60,000 people. The stadium has been renovated and the spectator seats are covered by a roof, so spectators can watch the games without rain gear, even in the rain, as long as it is not accompanied by wind. The nearest stations are Sendagaya Station and Shinanomachi Station on the JR Line and New National Stadium Station on the subway Oedo Line.

The capacity of the new national stadium is about three times that of the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, so when I got off at Sendagaya Station, a huge number of spectators streamed out of the ticket gates. From here to the stadium, it took about 7-8 minutes of slow walking to reach the entrance gate.

Here are the semi-final matchups for the day.

Game 1: Tokai University (Kanto University Rugby League Group 1st place) vs Meiji University (Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group 3rd place)


Second match: Teikyo University (Kanto University Rugby Rivalry Group 1st place) vs Kyoto Sangyo University (Kansai University Rugby A Group 1st place)

In the semifinals of this year’s University Rugby Championship, the champions of the Kanto and Kansai leagues have won in order. In sports tournaments, it is said that the most heated games are played in the semifinals, and I hope to see heated games again this year.

Let’s start with the first game.

Here is a brief introduction of each team in the first match.

** Tokai University Rugby Club **

The Tokai University Rugby Team is ranked the first in the Kanto University Rugby League Group, and except for a draw against Nihon University, which is ranked second, they have come through without any problems. In the first game of the University Championship, they won in order against Keio University 27-12. They have a strong and stable FW team, and also have a BK team with the ability to develop, led by SO Muto. The school is a regular participant in the top ranks of recent university championships, but it has never won a championship.

** Meiji University Rugby Club **

Third place in the Kanto University Rugby rivalry group. In this season’s rivalry, they lost to Teikyo University and Waseda University consecutively at the end of the season, but as they entered the University Championship, they defeated last year’s student champion Tenri University and Waseda University, the second place team in the rivalry group, both in close games, and have gradually improved their team strength. In terms of popularity of domestic rugby, they are the twin peaks along with Waseda University.

Now, let’s kick off the first game. Tokai University took the lead. In the 11th minute of the first half, CTB Maruyama of Tokai University scored a PG in enemy territory to make the score 3-0, and Tokai University led by 3 points.

12 minutes into the first half. From a lineout in the enemy’s territory, Meiji University expanded to the right, and in the first attack, WTB Ishida easily got through and scored a try right under the goal post. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was 3-7 in favor of Meiji University.

In the first half, Meiji University took control of the game, and in the 25th minute, WTB Ishida scored his second try of the day, and the conversion goal was also successful. In the 35th minute of the first half, Meiji University’s WTB Ishida again made a big gain to close in on the goal line, and No.8 Oishi scored a try. The conversion goal was successful. The first half ended with Meiji University taking a big lead, 21-3.

What happened to Tokai University? Are they still the champions of the Kanto University League? Looking at the games they’ve played so far against Meiji, it seems like they’re a much lower ranked opponent.

I don’t think my heart was in the right place, but Tokai University rallied in the second half.

In the first minute of the second half, Tokai University kicked off and went into enemy territory. CTB Itoh easily scored a try. The conversion goal was also successful, and Tokai University closed the gap to 15 points, 10-25.

Just three minutes later, in the fourth minute of the second half, Tokai University caught the ball kicked by Meiji University and passed it to SO Mutoh, who then launched a counter attack. Muto made a big gain and went deep into the enemy territory, but Meiji University’s defenders stopped Tokai University’s advance, but Tokai University developed to the left, and CTB Maruyama kicked a pass. Tokai University’s WTB Taniguchi caught the pass and scored a try in the left corner. After this try, CTB Maruyama scored a conversion goal from a difficult angle. The score was now 17-21, and Tokai University had closed the gap to 4 points.

Tokai University was finally showing its true potential. The game was now heating up.

Then, 9 minutes into the second half. Meiji University’s WTB Ishida, the main player who took a big lead in the first half, was injured and had to leave the field. This is not good for Meiji University.

In the 14th minute of the second half, it was a bit of a stalemate in front of Meiji University’s goal, but Tokai University’s SO Muto took advantage of an overlap in Meiji University’s defensive network and scored a great try. The conversion goal was also successful, making the score 24-21, and Tokai University finally turned the game around.

Then, 21 minutes into the second half. In the 21st minute of the second half, Meiji University scored a PG in enemy territory and CTB Hirose scored to tie the score. The score was now 24-24.

After 20 minutes of the second half, both teams finally started to show their true potential. This was a game worthy of the semi-finals. Both teams attacked each other consecutively, but their strength was so close to each other that they repeatedly took turns moving forward and entered a physically demanding stalemate.

In the 26th minute of the second half, Meiji University won the ball in a lineout and deployed it to the right, where SO Ito of Meiji University tried to break through. However, once the Tokai University defensive net loosened up, he rushed forward and scored a try in the middle right corner. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score became 24-31, and Meiji University took a 7-point lead again. In such a tightly contested game, a new hero emerges. Meiji’s Ito, who had been invisible in the past as he played the role of a link, did a great job at the critical moment. The morale of the entire Meiji University team was lifted.

In the 32nd minute of the second half, flanker Fukuda made a big gain on the left side from the center of the field. Then, expanding to the right, FB Kumoyama of Meiji University rolled an exquisite kick into the opponent’s in-goal. At the last moment, Meiji University CTB Saito held the kick in the in-goal, and the try was scored. The conversion goal was also successful. The score was 24-38, and Meiji University finally took a 14-point lead. Later in the game, Meiji University scored a PG after a foul by Tokai University, and CTB Hirose scored a try. The game was over. The final score was 24-39 in favor of Meiji University.

Meiji University has decided to advance to the finals of the University Championship. It was a good game, with both teams showing their strengths, as befitting a semifinal game.

After a 40-minute break, we went to watch the second game of the day.

Game 2: Teikyo University (Kanto University Rugby Group 1) vs Kyoto Sangyo University (Kansai University Rugby Group A)

The following is the progress of the match between the two schools so far.

** Teikyo University **

Teikyo University won the Kanto University Rivalry Group matches undefeated, and advanced to this semi-final with an overwhelming victory (76-24) over Doshisha University, ranked 4th in the Kansai League, in the quarterfinals of the University Championship. This season, Teikyo University has been flying from the first half of the game, and there has never been a game where the other team has taken the lead. The team’s colors are strong in both FW and BK, and there seems to be no weaknesses in the team. According to the pre-match predictions, there were many reports that Teikyo University would win in order. What kind of game will Teikyo University play this time against the champions of the Kansai League? Since the first game was a tumultuous affair, expectations are high for a heated battle.

** Kyoto Sangyo University **

The champion of the Kansai University Rugby League this season. Like Teikyo University, it is undefeated until the semifinals of the University Championship. However, while Teikyo has won many games by overwhelming margins, Kyoto Sangyo University has won many games by narrow margins. In terms of team tactics, all players in both FW and BK will continue to play through contact without hesitation in order to advance. The source of scoring is the PG of FB Takeshita.

The second match was about to begin. Teikyo University made the same start as usual, attacking from the beginning. In the 5th minute of the first half, Teikyo University attacked into the opponent’s territory and developed to the right, and finally FB Yanaka scored a try. The conversion goal failed, and Teikyo University scored first, 5-0.

In the 12th minute of the first half, Kyoto Sangyo University scored a PG goal from inside the opponent’s territory, and FB Takenaka scored steadily. The score was 5-3, and Teikyo University led by two points.

Next, in the 20th minute of the first half. FB Taninaka drew the opponents back, and WTB Shirakuni made a brilliant switch play to score a try in the middle left. The conversion failed. The score is 10-3, and Teikyo University leads by 7 points.

23 minutes left in the first half. Kyoto Sangyo University had another PG opportunity in the opponent’s territory, and FB Takeshita scored. The score was now 10-6, and Kyoto Sangyo University was trailing by 4 points.

Up to this point, as predicted before the game, Teikyo University was ahead in the early stages of the game, and Kyoto Sangyo University was catching up by accumulating PG scores. However, from this point on, the potential of the Kyoto Sangyo University players began to awaken due to the attacks of Teikyo University, the leading candidate for the championship. In the previous games, Teikyo University players rarely lost a match. However, the Kyoto Sangyo University players, famous for their intense training, gradually outperformed the Teikyo University players in individual contact play.

29th minute of the first half. From a scrum in front of the goal, CTB Vakalahi tried to break through the center of the field and was stopped by a tackle, but he broke through again and scored a try by the goal post. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was 10-13, giving Kyoto Sangyo University a three-point lead.

At this point, Kyoto Sangyo University started to overwhelm Teikyo University in the game development, with 70% of the ball control. Teikyo University had never played against a team that was so strong in individual contact play. I don’t know why the Kyoto Sangyo University players awakened, but perhaps this is the magic of the semifinals.

In the 38th minute of the first half, FB Takeshita scored his third PG of the day for Kyoto Sangyo University, making the score 10-16. In the closing minutes, Kyoto Sangyo University made a lineout deep in enemy territory and advanced by mauling. In the end, prop Hirano scored a try in front of the goal. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was 10-23, giving Kyoto Sangyo University a 13-point lead at the end of the first half. From the middle of the first half, the momentum of the game was in Kyoto Sangyo University’s hands.

The way they scored the last try of the first half, it was as if Teikyo University had become a lower-ranked team. Teikyo University was in a tight spot. Do they still have the power to turn the game around like they did against Meiji University in the first game?

However, just like Tokai University’s comeback from the second half in the first game, we have seen several times in tournament games where a team that was inferior to the other team comes back to life in the second half.

Then, the second half started.

Teikyo University was the first to score. Five minutes into the second half, Teikyo University won the right to take a penalty kick in enemy territory, and SO Takamoto scored to make it three points in favor of Teikyo University. The score was 13-23 in favor of Teikyo University, and they were up by 10 points.

In the 9th minute of the second half, Teikyo University won the ball in a lineout in front of the enemy’s goal, and launched a maul attack, their specialty. Kyoto Sangyo University’s FW put up a strong fight against this attack. Teikyo University’s mauling move was stopped by Kyoto Sangyo University’s FW, but they gradually made progress. As Teikyo University approached the goal line, hooker Era broke free and scored a try in the left corner. The conversion goal after the try was a difficult one from the left corner, but SO Takamoto successfully converted it. The score was now 20-23, and Teikyo University had closed the gap to three points over Kyoto Sangyo University.

With this, I thought the game would gradually move at Teikyo University’s pace. However, Kyoto Sangyo University was strong. Their fighting spirit never waned. From here, they started to regain their footing. Once in enemy territory, they continued to dominate the ball in dense battles. Kyoto Sangyo University also gradually pushed Teikyo University in a maul. In the 16th minute of the second half, Kyoto Sangyo University’s WTB Funabiki received the ball near the center of the enemy area, and despite being surrounded by six Teikyo defenders, he broke through to the center of the field and advanced 2 meters to the goal post. Kyoto Sangyo University WTB Funabiki ran hard and the stadium erupted in cheers. Finally, he connected with prop Hirano to score a try in the middle of the field. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score was 20-30, giving Kyoto Sangyo University a 10-point lead over Teikyo University again.

Kyoto Sangyo University’s unflagging determination to win this game gave me goose bumps. Will Kyoto Sangyo University be able to win this game?

Then, 20 minutes into the second half. Teikyo University introduced Hosoki, who is said to be the No.1 student prop, as an impact player. His appearance made us feel that rugby is a sport of fighting spirit. The expressions on the faces of the Teikyo University FW players changed with Hosoki’s appearance. Hosoki has a great deal of trust from his teammates.

From this point on, Teikyo foolishly chose to use scrums in their set plays. The scrums, which had been evenly matched until then, began to show a clear advantage with the addition of Hosoki.

Then, in the 64th minute of the second half. Teikyo moved forward at once with a scrum, and Teikyo’s SH Lee picked up the spilled ball and scored a try in the middle left corner. The conversion goal was also successful, making the score 27-30. Teikyo University was again up by three points.

With the arrival of Hosoki, Teikyo University’s fighting spirit was infectious, and the entire team was filled with energy.

In the 31st minute of the second half, Teikyo University once again gained the upper hand in the scrum and earned the right to play PG in front of the enemy goal. SO Takamoto scored steadily, and the score was finally tied at 30-30.

Even if the game ended in a draw, the team with the most tries would win, according to the tournament rules, so Teikyo University had a mental advantage.

With Teikyo dominating in the scrum, they pushed the game forward in the opponent’s territory. The balance of power between the two sides was broken in the 38th minute of the second half. Teikyo University made a series of attacks in front of the goal and developed to the right, and finally WTB Tuinakauvadra scored a try in the right corner. The conversion goal was also successful, and the score became 37-30, and Teikyo University finally turned the game around just before the end. Teikyo University finally made a comeback just before the end of the game, and the game ended. Teikyo University will advance to the final game on January 9.

Both teams played a great game with a lot of spirit. It was a good game that showed the full potential of both teams. I believe that Teikyo University was able to perform so well because of this game against Kyoto Sangyo University.

The pairing for the University Championship final on January 9 is Teikyo University versus Meiji University. This was a showdown between two teams belonging to the Kanto University rivalry group. Will Teikyo University regain its position as the university champion for the first time in four years? Or will Meiji University get their revenge for three consecutive games? I’m getting excited now.

** Jerseys Collection 51 **

This is a replica jersey of the 2012-13 French national rugby team uniform, made by Adidas. I think it’s relatively easy to get this jersey since it’s pretty common. I wear it mostly when I play futsal.

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.

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.

RUGBY JERSEY – Japan Brave Blossoms vs Australia Wallabies

(written by Azul, October 24th, 2021)

In early September, the Japan Rugby Union suddenly announced that the Japanese national rugby team would play a test match against the Australian Wallabies on October 23. Until then, the Japan national rugby team had been scheduled to play three matches this fall in November (Ireland, Portugal, and Scotland). For Japanese rugby fans, this was a sudden addition of one more match. And it was to be played in about a month’s time, prior to the three matches that had already been decided. The Australian national team is ranked third in the world and will be coming to Japan in top form, having won back-to-back matches against the RWC 2019 world champion, South Africa Springboks, just before the tournament. I was left with the impression that this was going to be an amazing event. When I looked at the venue of the match, it was the Showa Denko Dome (Oita Prefecture).

This was a troublesome situation. First of all, the distance is too far. At the time of the RWC 2019, I was able to get to the venue in about an hour even if I left my house in the afternoon, but in Oita City, I would have to prepare for a trip of at least one night and two days. The game started at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, so I checked flights and there were none available. Even if I left at 5:00 a.m. early on the day of the game by Shinkansen, I was scheduled to arrive just before the kickoff. I was in a bit of trouble. And what I finally chose was the following itinerary.

10/22 (Fri.) 9:50 p.m. departure from Tokyo Station – Sleeper Express Sunrise Izumo. 10/23 (Sat.) 6:05 a.m. arrival at Okayama (Okayama Prefecture).

10/23 (Sat) 6:50 a.m. Transfer to the Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho 601 – Kokura (Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture) 8:11 a.m.

10/23 (Sat) 8:34 Transfer to JR Limited Express Ni-chirin Seagaia No.5 – Oita (Oita City, Oita Pref.) 10:03 Arrival

10/23 (Sat) Rent a car from Oita Station. Arrive at Showa Denko Stadium at 11:30.

     11:30 Arrive at Showa Denko Stadium, 11:50 Enter the stadium and watch the game. 15:30 Finish the game.

10/23 (Sat) Rented a car from Showa Denko Stadium and drove on the expressway to Oita Airport.

10/23 (Sat) ANA Flight 800 departed from Oita Airport at 18:15 and arrived at Haneda Airport at 19:50.

10/23 (Sat) Transfer from Tokyo Station to Hachioji-Minamino Station. Arrived home at 22:30.

The above itinerary is quite a hard schedule.

Even so, I had been looking forward to this day’s game from about a week before my departure.

Then, the day of departure. I finished my work around 8:40 p.m. and arrived at Tokyo Station around 9:00 p.m.

Unfortunately, it was raining that day. Moreover, the temperature was only 10 degrees Celsius, the same temperature as December. It was cold. Our train was due to arrive at 21:30, so I walked around Tokyo Station to get some dinner before then. However, there was one miscalculation here. Due to the new Corona, all the stores selling station lunches were closed at 21:00. I had nothing to eat, I was starving. I looked around and found that McDonald’s was selling takeout items. Here, I bought a Samurai Mac. Now then, I went to platform 9 for the Sunrise train.

Here it comes. The Sunrise. Actually, this train is said to be a favorite of train enthusiasts, and it’s very difficult to get a seat. As you can see in the photo, train fans were waiting for the train and taking commemorative photos, and I made a reservation in mid-September, but it seemed that everyone was hesitant to make a reservation because of the new Corona. I found out later from the announcement, but of course it was fully booked that day. I was lucky.

As you can see in the photo above, the train is a double-decker, and it’s so gorgeous that I couldn’t help but smile. Now, let’s go inside the train.

This train is a double-decker car, so there are stairs inside. This is not like a train, but more like a hotel. As for the grade of the rooms, there are about four different ranks.

Rank 1 – A sleeper single deluxe: Private rooms that are the envy of train enthusiasts. There are only a few rooms available, so it’s hard to get a reservation on weekends. However, the cost of a sleeping room is about 13,000 yen, which is about the same as a regular business hotel. That’s probably why it’s so popular.

Rank 2 – B sleeper single: This is the most common room available in private rooms. This is the type I booked. It’s hard for a 2-meter tall rugger man to sleep in, but it’s enough space for me, a 174cm tall man. The cost of a berth is about 7,500 yen.

I would have preferred a room on the second floor, but I was satisfied with the first floor. I’m looking forward to enjoying my first sleeper train trip.

Rank 3: B-Sleeper Solo: This is a private room, but the ceiling is slightly lower than that of Rank 2. It is also said to be about 1,000 yen cheaper.

Rank 4: General seating. There is a space for each person to lie down. There are curtains and head partitions between each person. There is no sleeper charge, so if you are a frequent user of this train, this seat is also available.

It took about seven hours from Tokyo to Himeji, but it was a comfortable trip. The original stop was Okayama Station, but there was an accident in Nagoya on the way, and the train was delayed for about 30 minutes, so I got off at Himeji Station, one stop ahead of the station, at 6:05 a.m. to connect to the Shinkansen.

I got off at Himeji Station, one stop before the Shinkansen, at 6:05 a.m. Since it was early in the morning, the convenience store in the station was closed. I wanted to have some kind of breakfast, but for some reason the ekiben shop was empty. Luckily, I bought an ekiben, and now I was ready to change trains.

Even though it was late October, the sun was shining after six o’clock. It was not as cold as Tokyo yesterday, but it was chilly in the early morning in Himeji. The Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho 601 arrived at 6:29 a.m., right on time.

As expected, the Shinkansen is very fast. The Sunrise Izumo is also a limited express, so the average speed is 100km/h, but the Shinkansen runs at more than twice that speed, so it takes less than two hours from Himeji Station to Kokura Station in Kyushu.

We arrived at Kokura Station. I realized later that the Kyushu Shinkansen is connected to the mainland by an undersea tunnel, not a steel bridge. I didn’t know this until I took the Kyushu Shinkansen. And here is the last transfer train for the outward journey: the 8:34 JR Limited Express NICHIRIN Sea Gaia No. 5.

In the photo above, I couldn’t get a good shot of the front of the train, but the express Seagaia is a popular train among train enthusiasts for its robot-like face.

Even from the side, the train looks quite stern. We will arrive at Oita in 90 minutes. The express train “Sea Gaia” ran along the sea coast on the way to Oita, so I could enjoy the scenery of Beppu Bay. Before Corona, a hovercraft used to operate here. It was a sightseeing specialty of Beppu Bay, but it is no longer in service.

10/23 (Sat) 10:03 a.m. We finally arrived at Oita Station. When I arrived at the station, I saw many people wearing rugby jerseys. Not only tourists, but also local station staff and people in the tourism industry were wearing the uniforms of the Japanese national rugby team to liven up the event.

The Showa Denko Stadium in Oita City has been a joint effort of the public and private sectors as a tourism hub, as it hosted the quarterfinal matches of the RWC 2019. It would be great if the new corona infection finally dies down and this stadium can again attract a large number of spectators.

In the case of Showa Denko Stadium, it is the home of Oita Trinita of the J1 soccer league, and although there is no team in Kyushu that has designated this stadium as their home for Rugby League ONE, which will start in 2022, I hope they will make good use of it. Of all the stadiums I’ve seen this year, this one is about the same size as Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka Prefecture, but the local city of Oita has a high sense of excitement about it.

From here, I rented a car from ORIX Rent-A-Car for 5,000 yen for 6 hours and headed for the stadium. Why did I rent a car?

1) Oita Station, Showa Denko Stadium, and Oita Airport are quite far away from each other.

2) There is a shuttle bus service, but it takes only two and a half hours from the end of the game until the plane leaves for home.

(3) It takes about an hour to get from the stadium to the airport, even if you drive on the highway.

(4) If I return to Oita Station from the stadium and then go to the airport, I doubt if I can board the plane.

So, I chose to rent a car as my transportation in Oita City. On the way back to Oita, there were about 600 supporters who came to Oita Airport, and most of them had taken tour buses, cabs, or rental cars prepared by the tour companies. In other words, if we took the shuttle bus to Oita Station and then went to Oita Airport, I would not be able to catch the 6:15 p.m. flight.

I arrived at Showa Denko Stadium in 30 minutes from Oita Station as planned. This stadium has plenty of parking space, but it’s a long way from there to the stadium. If you walk slowly, it will take you almost 30 minutes.

On a sunny day like today, it’s not a problem, but in bad weather, this distance is quite tough. The Showa Denko Stadium has a retractable dome, so you don’t have to worry about rain.

We finally arrived at the stadium two hours before kickoff, just like the RWC 2019, where they used to have satellite broadcasts of matches being played at other venues to keep things moving, but in today’s case, there was no such thing, so they invited local comedians and celebrities to the event.

Commemorative photo board

Past uniforms of the Japanese national team

Near the main entrance

I couldn’t wait to get inside the stadium myself. This stadium was built during the FIFA 2002 World Cup and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The stadium is so well maintained that it doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years. I quickly went to the south stand to check my seat behind the goal. This time, my seat was the cheapest, Category 3, 1st hh row 137. I looked around to see where I was.

South Stand

Row hh means the first row. This was great. It’s a great position to take pictures. There is no obstacle in front of me.

Regarding today’s match, I checked the past data. The most recent time Japan played the Australian national team was on November 4, 2017. The venue was the Yokohama International Stadium (Nissan Stadium). The score of the match at that time was 63-30, a stunning victory for the Australian national team. Coincidentally, the Wallabies were ranked third in the world at that time, as they are now. In the case of the Wallabies, if you look at the players who played in this match, they had almost the entire first team. The faces of the national team can almost be said to be the members of RWC 2019.

Almost a year after this, on November 3, 2018, the All Blacks came to Japan and played a test match against the Japanese national team. The final score was 69-31, and the Japanese team at that time was also almost a regular member of the RWC 2019 squad. The All Blacks, however, were in the third class. Only a few members of this team played in the RWC 2019. There were quite a few players who were capped for the first time. To my recollection, more than five of them were first-time caps.

What we can see from the data of these two games is that the Japanese national team, up to this point, had a large gap in strength with the world’s strongest nations. This means that they rapidly gained strength over the next year or so. During this period, there was growing criticism of HC Joseph for his lack of results. It was widely believed that the team would not be able to advance to the final tournament.

Now, the time for the game to start is approaching and the seats in the stadium are filling up. According to the publicity, there were 17,004 spectators that day. The capacity of this stadium is 40,000, so it was almost 40% full. Because of the new Corona’s limited entry, only half of the tickets should have been sold, which means 80% of the tickets were sold.

This time the Wallabies were in almost as good a shape as they were the last time they played Japan. Depending on the outcome of this match, the next three matches in Europe will be decided. Although the Japanese team will be up against a higher-ranked opponent, I hope that they will do their best to win the match.

The national anthem of the Australian Wallabies (Advance Australia Fair).

Next, the national anthem (Kimigayo) of the Japanese national team was sung.

Then the kickoff. The Wallabies scored first in the 7th minute of the first half, when SO Cooper cut in from near the enemy 22-meter line and handed an off-load pass to WTB Tom Wright, who scored a try near the center of the goal. Cooper then converted to give the Wallabies a 0-7 lead.

Japan’s first score came in the 16th minute of the first half. Japan’s SO Matsuda scored a PG in the enemy line, and the Wallabies were behind by 4 points.

22 minutes into the first half. After a series of attacks by the Wallabies, the ball went right in front of the enemy’s goal, and FB Petaia scored a try. The Wallabies converted the try to take an 11-point lead at 3-14.

25 minutes into the first half. Japan national team SO Matsuda kick-passes to the right from the center of the enemy 22m line. WTB Lemeki catches the pass, passes it to another player, and scores a try in the right corner. Matsuda also converted the try, and Japan was behind by 2 points, 10-14.

32nd minute of the first half. In the 32nd minute of the first half, Japan SO Matsuda scored a PG in front of the opponent’s goal, 13-14.

In the last minute of the second half, Wallabies SO Cooper scored a PG to make it 13-17, and the first half ended with the Wallabies leading by 4 points.

The Wallabies led by 4 points at the end of the first half, but Japan made many mistakes in the set piece, especially in the lineout. They were also penalized for scrummaging at crucial moments. In addition, they were turned over more often than usual in dense battles at rucks.

Two minutes into the second half, the Wallabies scored a try from a lineout in front of the opposition goal, with prop Folau Fainga scoring in the right corner. The Wallabies lead by 9 points, 13-22.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Wallabies score another try. The Wallabies lead by 14 points, 13-27. The Wallabies lead by 14 points.

15 minutes into the second half, the Wallabies move wide to the left as the Japanese team moves into enemy territory. Japanese team CTB Nakamura intercepted a long pass to the outermost player. The conversion goal was scored by SO Tamura, who came on as a substitute, to bring Japan within 7 points at 20-27.

Nakamura’s try brought the game back from the Wallabies. Nakamura’s try was priceless. It was the most exciting moment of the day in the stadium.

33 minutes into the second half. Japan’s SO Tamura scored a PG from the center of the field, nearly 50 meters, to bring the score to 23-27. Only one more try is needed to turn the game around. Good luck, Japan!

78th minute. The Wallabies form a maul from a lineout in front of the opposition goal, and prop Alaalatoa pushes it in for a try.

The conversion goal failed, and the game ended. The Wallabies of Australia beat the Japanese national team.

Although the national team lost, I was thrilled to be able to enjoy my first test match in Japan since RWC 2019.

I was going back to Tokyo in the afterglow of the game. Thank you, Oita. I’ll be back soon. Next time, I want to relax in a hot spring.

On the way back, we rented a car and headed for Oita Airport. After about an hour of driving on the expressway, we finally arrived at the airport. According to the meter in the car, it was 64km from the stadium to the airport. Well, that’s what I call a trip, isn’t it? “It reminded me of Tetsuya Takeda’s song, “I’ve come a long way.

At 6:00 p.m., it was indeed getting dark. I had some ramen noodles for dinner inside the airport, went through the ticket gate, and finally went to the boarding gate. It’s been two years since I’ve been on an airplane due to the new Corona.

Now I’m going back to Tokyo. After this, I want to go to Europe to follow the Japan national team, but I’m going to be patient and cheer on the team on TV. Good luck, Japan national team!

RUGBY JERSEY-Jersey Collection1~32

I excerpted an article of the jersey collection carried up to now and made a list this time. It was this article that readers had the interest relatively by the message that I received from them in the past. There are more than 30 jerseys I can’t finish introducing yet, but while this plan continues, in sequence, I’d like to introduce.

I got a ticket for pep rallu game of rugby Japan national team, so next week I will go to EKOPA Stadium in Shizuoka again.


ジャージ コレクション1:ニュージーランド オールブラックス


  • 製造メーカー:カンタベリー
  • 備考:第1回RWCを制覇して、日本に来日した直後に販売されたので、ヒット商品。たぶん日本で販売されたラグビージャージの中では一番売れたのではないでしょうか。
  • 入手方法~発売時の価格は、記憶では1万円を少し割るくらい。




ジャージ コレクション2:オーストラリア代表(ワラビーズ)


  • 製造メーカー:カンタベリー
  • 備考:第2回RWCを制覇したのは、ワラビーズ(オーストラリア)。




  • 入手方法~まだヤフオク等で、時々見かけます。さすがに未使用の新古品は、年間1回くらいしか見つからないですが。


ジャージ コレクション3:アイルランド 

半袖 真ん中に、スポンサーマークが入っているので、W杯仕様の ジャージでは、 ありません。ヤフオクで新品で、2,500円程度でゲット。    

ジャージ コレクション4:(スコットランド)


ジャージ コレクション5(サモア):


ジャージ コレクション5⓶:ニュージーランド試合着。


ジャージ コレクション6:南アフリカ


ジャージ コレクション7:カナダ


ジャージ コレクション8:RWC2015 イングランド大会記念ジャージ。WEBB ERRIS CUP製品。3,900円。新品で購入。現地で勢いで買っちゃうと、軽く10,000円をこえてしまうので、やはり、事後で購入するのが、コレクターにはbetter.

ジャージコレクション 9:アルゼンチン。

この国のジャージ(私の求める襟付き、長袖)が、なかなか手に入らない。ヤフオクで苦節3年、ようやく手に入りました。なぜか、「アメリカ ラグビー」で検索したら出てきました。しかも、800円。古着屋の人は、この価値わからないみたい。個人的には、当時、30,000円出しても欲しいと思っていました。

ジャージコレクション 10:ウェールズ。


ジャージコレクション 11 イングランド

このジャージは、記録を調べてみたところ、1995年第3回W杯のもの。COTTON TRADERS社製品。1991年の第2回W杯時にほぼ同様のデザインのジャージを新品で購入、当時は、確か1万円を割っていたと記憶。その後、引っ越しの際に手放しました。そして、2年前にヤフオクでこのジャージ(中古)を発見。懐かしかったですね。「イングランド ジャージ」とは言わずに、「ラグビー W杯 ジャージ」で出品されていました。当初は、2,900円で出品されていましたが、買い手が誰もつかず、チエックをつけていた私に、次々に値下げの連絡が、最後には、1,000円を割ったので、購入しました。なぜか、イングランド製品は、中古相場は安いです。おそらく、色が白だから、経年劣化が目立つからだと思います。(あと、この年代のイングランドのジャージが新古品で出回っているのを、見たことがない。ウエールズは、なぜか出回っているけど。)



ジャージコレクション13(フランス その2)

推定1980年代のフランス代表ジャージの復刻版。adidasのマークが、三つ葉トレフォイルではなくて、現行のマークに替わっています。このジャージは、sample として製作されたもので、数はあまり出回らなかった希少品です。ヤフオクで、5,900円で即決で入手しました。デザインが、万人受けするようで、これを着て試合観戦に行くと、欲しがられるか、かっこいいと(ジャージが)褒められます。

ジャージコレクション14(フランス その3)


ジャージコレクション15(フランス その4)


ジャージ コレクション16(アルゼンチン トラック・ジャケット~HAND OF GOD)

メルカリで購入したジャージ(6,900円)。通称「神の手」ジャージ。86年メキシコW杯の「アルゼンチン対イングランド」戦の神の手ゴールを記念してつくられたadidas originals のジャージです。マラドーナが亡くなってからは、関連のジャージが高騰しました。大体、売り手は2倍くらいの値段で吹っ掛けてきます。まあ、ブームは一過性のものと思うので、半年くらいしたら、価格も落ち着くのではないでしょうか。

ジャージ コレクション17

(アルゼンチン トラック・ジャケット その2)


ジャージ コレクション18




これをみてもわかるように、日本のMr.ラグビー 平尾誠二選手のW杯ジャージでさえも、日本では10万円程度の値段しかつかないです。



若干、文字が薄くなっておりますが、Tony Underwoodと読み取れます。対戦相手の選手がサインしたものですね。

おお、Tony Underwood。もちろん私も知っています。1995年のRWCイングランド代表として、ラグビーワールドカップに出場しました。兄のRorry Underwood とともに、兄弟でイングランド代表チームのウイングとして活躍した快速選手です。

このサインを足掛かりに、このジャージがどの試合でおこなわれたのかを調べてみました。Tony Underwoodは、1992年から1998年までにイングランド代表として活躍しています。

このジャージに、ワールドカップのマークは刺繍されていませんので、ワールドカップ以外での対戦に絞られます。そして、最近私がよく利用する海外オークションサイト e-BAYにイングランド vs ルーマニアで検索をかけたら、プログラムが出てきました。



そして、対面のイングランドの14番(右ウイング)は、スタメンの表で確認すると、Tony Underwood。


ジャージ コレクション 19 ウェールズ代表ジャージ。ヤフオクで、5,000円で入手。新古品。COTTON TRADERS製品。

ジャージ コレクション 20

フランス代表トラックジャケット。2015年ころに発売。発売当初は、上着だけなのに20,000円もして、購入を躊躇したのを覚えています。でも個人的にはメチャクチャかっこいいと思っていたので、そのうちと思っていたら、SOLD OUT。昨年、e-BAYで、6,000円プラス送料4,000円で入手。新古品。ADIDAS製品。

ジャージコレクション 21 「5か国対抗ラグビー」記念ジャージ。

現在は、6 NATIONS RUGBY ですが、80年代はイタリアを除くフランス、スコットランド、ウエールズ、アイルランド、イングランドの5か国で優勝を争っていました。その記念ジャージです。ヤフオクで、2,980円にて購入しました。

ジャージ コレクション 22:RWC 2011でフランス代表チームが着ていたWarm Up Jacket。メルカリで、3,980円にて新古品で購入しました。袖口、襟口がトリコロールカラーになっているのが、なんともいえずかっこいい。

ジャージ コレクション 23

本日の試合会場で、クボタのテントの人が配っていたサポーター用ベースボール シャツ。2,000円の自由席のチケットで入場したのにこんなのもらっちゃって良いのでしょうか?せめて、私のBlogで紹介させていただきます。

ジャージ コレクション 24

本1987年の第1回 RWCの時代のフランス代表ユニフォーム(Serge Blancoの時代)。メルカリで、6,900円で入手。ところどころ毛羽立ち等あり、年季を感じますが、30年以上前のジャージなので、私は風格を感じます。前も言ったような気がいたしますが、日本だとvintageもののジャージは、評価は低いですが、海外のオークションサイトだと、10倍くらいします。同じものを日本で見つけたら、価格は(待てば)下がってきます。誰も、買わないので。

Jersey collection 25

The 1st time of 1987 Second jersey of a French representative uniform in the time of RWC. Dirt is conspicuous white jersey, but the preservation state is also good. There are almost no cases that this second jersey was judged from auctions. I bought it at 7980 yen by Mercari, inc. If it’s 1st JERSEY personally, Blanco is imagined, but if it’s 2nd, Philip Sera is remembered.

Jersey collection 26

Jersey of the world selection team (club) Barbarians. It’s new in YAFUOKU and it’s bought at 5900 yen. Though it was new, it was inexpensive, so it has been bought unconsciously. The small by which the size is international size. I don’t find out that the one as the size won’t be tried on by slyboots, this jersey was no problem.

Jersey collection 27 (French  Its 7).

Second Jersey of a French representative of 2011RWC. NIKE product. Then, in this abdomen, a line, many bottles, dispatch the design seems to have been paid much attention. I get dead stock for 4900 yen in Yahoo Auction.

Jersey collection 28

Unusual Tongan representative jersey. BUKTA (United Kingdom) product. I get it for 800 yen by Merukari. The design from which it wasn’t learned that a mark of a chest was a Tongan one for the previous owner. Because (Though it’s valuable actually.) a jersey in a minor country doesn’t make a high price in Japan most. I saw this manufacturer for the first time, too.

Jersey Collection 29

Fijian representative jersey. Manufacturer obscurity. I presume from a World Cup mark of a chest and estimate at a replica after 1991. I get it for 2500 yen by Meru potash. The Fijian representative who left with a vivid impression in the 1st time RWC in 1987. The first half overwhelmed Europe champion France by a 1st game of final tournament. It had been changed to FW competition and reversed in the second half, but they showed us Fijian Magic.

Jersey collection  30

Canterbury university rugby jersey. SUZUKI product. Yahoo!  It’s bought at 2000 yen by an auction. SUZUKI is mainly dealing with a uniform of a rugby club of Japan and an overseas university.

Jersey Collection 31

Canterbury university rugby Jacket. SUZUKI product. I bought at 2980 yen by Merucari. It was put by the Canterbury university rugby jersey introduced last week and a simultaneous period on sale, so I don’t waver and buy it. Because such rare jersey is rarely put on sale by a set.

Jersey Collection 32:Sun Wolves 2019-2020 Uniform

Canterbury product. Newness is bought at 4,980 yen by Merucari. The fixed price was about 10,000 yen when started to sell. This jersey commemorates Sun Wolves last season. It isn’t tight fit-type, so it’s also easy to put on as everyday clothes. Personally, I like it most in designing way among Sun Wolves uniforms of successive generations.