AFRC vs Gaijins – 17-7 Well Done on a Close Game

Hey guys, match yesterday was a 7-17 win to the Gaijin, after they led
7-12 at half time.

I just wanted to say "otsukare-sama". I think the team did really well
in the face of what I made out as being about 30% possession. We were
good with the ball in hand keeping possession secure, and I thought
the AFRC defense was really admirable. Especially from the young kids,
everyone stood up and held the line tackling much bigger guys in the
gaijins and holding them out. Overall, given the conditions, I was
impressed that there were relatively few mistakes, and few penalties
throughout the game. In fact, AFRC was doing such a good job holding
gaijin out while only 5 points down that I really thought AFRC had a
chance to beat them with a good counter attack.

I think a couple of guys losing their discipline in the final quarter
led to our defensive pattern being broken, which cost the game. Nearly
everyone held their discipline and spirit until the end, but
unfortunately with defense, all players need to be 100% on the job. A
couple of guys seemed more interested in repeatedly trying to start
fights away from the ball rather than helping their mates keep up our
defensive line, and that is when Gaijin scored to seal the game.

Just some quick points:
– Only the captain should talk to the ref, and any questions or
comments should be respectful. Japanese refs will treat players and
teams that talk back more harshly.
– Don’t self judge. I believe good referees wait to see if any
strategic advantage can be won before blowing the whistle. If the
other side knocks on or is offside, that isn’t a time to take a rest,
it is a time to see if you can punish them – play 100% until the
whistle goes.
– Since some some guys wanted to hold a committee about this, let me
be clear: you cannot pull the halfback into a ruck when they are going
to pick up the ball. Also, never stand your ground arguing with the
referee about a penalty when play is restarting, especially if you
don’t know the rules.

On positive points – I thought our ruck offside lines were excellent,
everyone was getting back and keeping onside under a lot of pressure,
and the defensive line worked really well organizing itself to give no
gaps to the gaijins. Support play was also great, tackling was strong
and aggressive, and our guys showed good discipline and initiative at
the rucks, winning a number of good turnovers just from getting there
quicker than the gaijins.

Overall, it was a great game to watch and I thought our guys really
played above themselves. Keep it up – with a bit more discipline, I
think we could have won. Great job, I think all that training is
paying off and it was great to see you guys playing so well.

Cheers

Simon