G’day Gentlemen, Here is the GAME REPORT What a fantastic game on Sunday boys! We went against the number 1 team in our division and won with a bonus point for 4 tries. We did this by limiting our mistakes, defending our line like champions and grinding them down until we could get into a positon to score. This is what I liked most about the game; We played like a TEAM instead of as 15 individuals. We had a belief that we could win and we didn’t push passes, nor did we lose our composure under pressure. With many of our starting players unavailable this was the perfect chance for some of our members to show what they can do. I think that after the performance on Sunday that starting positions are up for grabs and that no one is guaranteed a spot. The Game : First Half Bakus like most Japanese teams started hard and strong. We were up to the challenge. On our 3rd time with the ball we put together an amazing 14 phase play! Under the direction of Onda san and Kazu M we pushed the Bakus back and everyone of our members either touched the ball or quickly came in to support. The Bakus were shell shocked an for their next 5 plays they could only string together 1 or 2 phases. Our defence rocked them forcing them into pushed passes and dropped balls. They were throwing everything at us and gaining no ground. In the first 10 minutes we were winning and the Bakus had no idea what to do. But then mistakes started creeping into our game. We gave away too many penalties (5) and the Bakus struck first. Ba 7 AF 0. After the first water break we came out firing. The forwards made some great work and Kousuke Yamamoto pushed his big arse over the line to even the scores. With a great conversion by Hisa scores were locked. Ba 7 AF 7 But the Bakus showed us why they are the number one team in the division. They started to complete phases and put us under pressure. With their sneaky 10 and massive 12 they hit back. Ba 12 AF 7. What’s worse is that our brave number 12 limped of clutching his arm. Well, he ran off because he didn’t have a problem with his legs but I’m sure all of you get the idea. This allowed the lovable rascal Steph De Gallo to fulfill his dream of playing inside centre. Maybe it was because of his long absence or feeling overwhelmed by the occasion, he threw the ball into the air to the rugby gods. Unfortunately he should have passed to OUR rugby god Special K to score under the posts. Never mind. Half time Ba 12 AF 7 Second Half The Bakus came out hard in the second keeping us down in our own 25 with sustained pressure. They looked likely to score but we held out. Time for fresh troops. Judo Ben for Yama, Ryo from wing to 10, Kazu M to 12, Ko to prop, Our awesome captain Lolo to Hooker, Hiro for Phillipe, Matsunaga to 8 and with a decision from our coach that can only be described as masterful: De Gallo was shuffled to the wing where he belongs;) With our fresh players Baku stood no chance. Our forwards lifted again and we set up camp in their 25. For me the next 20 minutes is just a blur. I stopped taking notes of the phases, line outs, scrums etc. I was in awe of what All France were doing on the field. I don’t know if it was Ryo who scored first under the posts or Kazu K who pestered me constantly to get back on the pitch. I was amazed by the brilliance of De Gallo on the wing who was supporting, rucking and tackling his heart out. He almost scored in the corner. So did Special K. So did Ben. All France knew we were going to win this. Bakus tried to frustrate us and it showed in the penalty count. They were penalized 9 times in that 20 minutes. All France did not take the bait. We were hungry. At 12-12 Lolo (and myself) wanted to take an easy 3 points in front of the posts but the team would have none of that. AF wanted to win with tries. We wanted to dominate and so we did. 3 tries in 20 minutes! With 6 minutes remaining after the water break we didn’t stop and showed no mercy. The no 1 team in our division were not getting a consolation try. Standout Moments Nico at flanker and no 8 in the second half. He was a tackling and rucking machine and always first to the ball. He is our Game MVP. Well done Our 14 phase play and our support for each other in general. Ryo’s 2 tries. He knows his way to the line. Del Gallo’s support, tackling and rucking. Ben’s outstanding 30 metres run. He is picking up the game nicely. Kazu at !2. His opponent was the size of Special K but Kazu had no fear. Even when they ran the big guy at him constantly. Even when he injured his arm he said,” It’s an injury so I am allowed by the rules to come back on right?” What a warrior attitude! Romain’s spirit and giving it his all in the 15 minutes that he played. Special K who was targeted as a threat and set upon every ball he got. This opened up opportunities for our other backs. Kousuke’s Nandeyanen runs. Very bruising for the opposition. And finally Lolo who had a great performance as Captain. Congratulation All France and let’s get win number 3 on SUNDAY. PS: stats for IRON MAN (attendance), MVP (votes of the board), GOLDEN BOOT (tries) will be provided next time but (1) LOLO is leading the IRON MAN race, and (2) RYO the Golden Boot (5 tries).