A touring team from Meiji University in Tokyo played London Scottish U19s on Saturday, and competed well in a spirited game – remarkable in itself after such bad news from home. The result was almost secondary to the importance to the tourists of performing well and to the rugby fraternity in supporting them.
A minutes silence was held and given as much respect as possible out on pitch 5 by the crowd of spectators who had gathered on the sunny day. London Scottish Academy gave a fine display of running rugby, but never had it their own way thanks to a spirited display from the young tourists. Despite the fact that they had played the day before, they appeared to be a fit and highly skilled squad that were always looking for the try line.
The U19s played very well and would have given any team a really good run for their money, the 62 points they scored were remembered more the nature of the tries, the running and passing that the coaches have been looking for started to be produced. Notable performances came from Tommy Cottrell, Ian Brooks and Steven Hart.
At the end of the game the London Scottish team gave their playing jerseys to their opponents, giving a hot, sweaty legacy of a fine tour.
Another fine example of the spirit of rugby came thanks to Denis Harding, the Kit Manager at Harlequins FC. He put the call out to the 1st XV and they provided a fantastic collection of players kit and stash for the touring team. This just shows that rugby is a true fraternity at all levels.
The touring side left with more kit than they could carry – and lots of good memories. As a footnote the touring team flew out the day before the earthquake and tsunami hit their homes: they fly back to an uncertain future and a shocked country. Thoughts from everyone at London Scottish FC go with them.