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August 23, 2005

England beat Japan in Deaf International

From: Planet Rugby, UK - Aug 23, 2005

VJ Day victory in Kent

England Deaf beat the touring Japan Deaf 39-14 at the Maidstone Football Club on Sunday afternoon.

When England Deaf Rugby Union played Japan Deaf Rugby Club at Maidstone Football Club it was no great surprise to find perceptions matching reality with bigger England rugby players, willing to use size and weight to cross the gain line, meeting Japanese players who were nimble-footed and of smaller stature, but able to run evasively and tackle bravely.

England were looking to use their big pack to dominate possession whereas Japan full of guile and fast running were always seeking to stretch the England cover. Japan started well from the kick off and rocked England back with a series of quick turn-overs which saw them pressing the try line. However, these early forays were thwarted when England No.8 Mathew Gilbert snatched up a loose ball to sprint from inside his own 22 metre line, and shrug off the Japanese defence to score England's first try which went unconverted.

Although stunned, Japan came back with two converted penalties by flyhalf Ikki Konaka, to take the lead 5-6. Both sides were guilty of over eagerness by giving away penalties for holding the ball in the tackle or infringing off-side. This gave England flyhalf Gavin Jackson a penalty to take the score to 8-6. The England forwards, driven on by hooker-turned-scrumhalf Tim Sawyer, were all working well with captain Richard Jackson and fellow lock Daniel McAllister always in the thick of the action, with hooker Brett Pruce also getting through loads of hard work to win the ball.

Japan was not to be overawed and their mobile forwards were able to give the pacy and inventive back line plenty of possession by using innovative lineout ploys and well drilled rucking and mauling. The Japanese were hampered when they lost a forward to the sin bin six minutes before half-time for some over-robust play in front of Referee Hall. But England capitalised on having the extra player to stretch Japan's defence and give Gilbert a second try following a fine passing move involving backs and forwards.

Half-time: England 13 Japan 6

The interval saw both coaches making substitutions with power prop Nick Todd making way for Rob Hill in the England front row. Japan also had a reshuffle for injuries and replacements but continued the second half always looking for the dangerous counter attack. Good back play from Sawyer with the back row in support saw outside centre Josef Baines score close to the posts for an easy conversion by Gavin Jackson (20-6). This was followed by another England try for ever present flanker Danny Piesley which was also converted to give a score line of 27-6.

Japan were not going to roll over and give the game up, so an exciting period of play saw quick recycling of the ball by the Japanese forwards to create width for winger Hidenori Harashige to score a well deserved try following a penetrating step inside by full back Takayuki Ochiai. (27-11). A penalty to Japan increased their score to 27-14 before England responded with a fine backs try that saw centre Craig Phinn crash over for the points (32-14). Finally Gavin Jackson sealed the outcome with another good try which he converted to give England a match winning score of 39-14.

At the final whistle the Japanese squad were warmly applauded by the large crowd at the Old Mote Ground. They had playing stylish attacking rugby on this their first visit to the British Isles. Without doubt they have made many friends on this tour, both in the Deaf community and the wider rugby world and will certainly return home following further fixtures against Wales, on Wednesday, and Scotland, on Saturday, as a stronger, more experienced team.

Full-time: England 39 Japan 14

Man of the match: Tim Sawyer (England & West Hartlepool)


For England:
Tries: Gilbert 2, Baines, Piesley, Phinn, Jackson
Cons: Jackson 3
Pen: Jackson

For Japan:
Try: Ochiai
Pens: Konaka 3


England: 15 Piet Everett (Sidcup), 14 Ben Warner (Hayle), 13 Josef Baines (Henley), 12 Craig Phinn (Blackheath), 11 Charlie James (Huntingdon), 10 Gavin Jackson (Knottingley), 9 Tim Sawyer (West Hartlepool), 8 Mathew Gilbert (Dover), 7 Danny Piesley (Old Halesonians), 6 Darron Hall (Stourbridge) (vice-captain), 5 Daniel McAllister (Luton), 4 Richard Jackson (Hove) (captain), 3 Tony Stoyles (Northampton Mensown), 2 Brett Pruce (Aylestone St James), 1 Nick Todd (Petersfield)
Replacements: Robert Hill (Chinnor), Andrew Millership Boston),
Craig Pothecray (Handsworth), Brett Hanratty (Ryton), Nick McKen (Burnham On Sea), Gareth Waterfield (Burnham On Sea),
Michael Keeling (Unattached)

Japan: 15 Takayuki Ochiai, 14 Kosei Samejima, 13 Shoei Yoshida, 12 Yasuhisa Kawakami, 11 Hindenori Harashigie (Vice-captain), 10 Ikki Konaka, 9. Susumu Shibatni (captain), 8 Eiji Chiba, 7 Naoy Nagasak, 6 Satoshi Tashiro, 5 Takeshi Isaka, 4 Atsuhiro Hino, 3 Hideki Nonaka, 2 Yoshinori Kuroda, 1. Hiroshi Ito
Replacements: Mitsuru Motte, Kota Kudo, Yoshinori Ishi, Masahiro Kimino, Kota Oso, Nobuyuki Sasaki, Takahiro Saeki, Takahiro Kataoka, Eikoh Inoue.

Referee: Terry Hall (RFU & Kent Society)
Touch judges: Graeme Charters, John Dennison (Kent Society)

By Howard Gilbert

© 2004 - Rivals Digital Media