The tour party have returned from Japan with their heads held high after securing two wins from three. Playing three matches in six days with a squad of only 25 was also going to be tough, but the boys gave a valiant effort and have done the Club proud.
Lead by Captain Jack McCalman, the Students kicked off the tour with a convincing win in front of a packed stand of supporters at Meiji Universities, Hachimanyama Ground. At half time, the tourists had a small two point lead, after both teams picked up 3 tries a piece. However after the break our boys ramped up the tempo and scored 5 tries to the hosts 2 to seal the first win.
Final Score: Meiji University 35-56 Sydney University
Try Scorers: Josh Hardie (1), Eddy King (2), Josh King (1), Declan Moore (3), Sam Renton (1)
Conversions: Sam Renton (8)
MVP: Declan Moore
The second match, a mere 3 days later would prove to be tougher as Uni took on the Japanese U20s team who are preparing for the U20s championships to be held in France in May.
Japan dominated for most of the first half, taking an early 15-0 lead, until Eddy King got Uni off the mark on the stroke of half time. The Students came out firing in the second half, picking up 3 tries in 10 mins to take the score to 15-24, they then managed to keep hold of the lead for the remainder of the game to claim their second win. Some individual skill from the likes of Tim Clements (guest appearance after finding him on the streets of Tokyo), Stewart Nutt and Sam Renton along with a great team defence was notable highlights.
Final Score: Japan U20s 27-43 Sydney University
Try Scorers: Hamish Dunbar (1), Eddy King (1), Jack McCalman (1), Will McDonnell (1), Stewart Nutt (1), Sam Renton (1), Will Ridley (1),
Conversions: Will McDonnell (1), Sam Renton (2) Joe Schwager (1)
MVP: Tim Clements
Our third and final match was against an invitational team of Meiji University Old Boys – All Meiji, who are all now playing in the Japanese Top League. The physicality and skill levels were another step up from the previous game and it was clear a real test lay ahead for the Students. As with both games before, it was a fairly even playing field in the first half with the hosts leading 14-12 at the break.
The All Meiji players were only allowed to play 40mins each, so the real challenge began at half time when the Students had to take on 15 fresh sets of legs! By which time fatigue had well and truly set in for the tourists, they put in a gutsy performance, but in the end All Meiji’s tactical kicking and dominant ball carriers were too much for the Students and they suffered defeat.
Final Score: All Meiji 54-12 Sydney University
Try Scorers: Eddy King (1), Joe Schwager (1)
Conversions: Sam Renton (1)
MVP: Eddy King
The team ran a coaching clinic prior to the final game for a group of kids from Edogawa Rugby School who’s skill levels impressed the Uni Players.
Away from the field the boys experienced many different aspects of Japanese culture, from the local cuisine, thermal hot springs, shrines, temples, Hedgehog Cafes and Karaoke bars as well as a having a unique opportunity to watch professional sumo wrestlers training in a sumo stable.
Final day visit to Hakone, a town on the outskirts of Tokyo with breathtaking views of Mount Fuji
SUFC would like to thank Meiji University and Gullivers Travel for organising a wonderful trip, the memories and bonds the group have formed during those 10 days will stay with them forever. We hope to be able to welcome Meiji University to Sydney in 2019.
Special mention also to Adrian Schwager and Ash Miller, our supporters who joined us on tour. Your support and company throughout the ten days was invaluable to the team.
View all the photos from the tour here >