JAPANESE RUGBY!

On August 28, 2009, at YAMAHA Okubo Ground in Shizuoka, there was the final match versus Fukuoka Sanix Blues before the top league starts. Kick-off was at 6PM. Game captain Sato said after the match that Yamaha Motor Jubilo used all aspects of the ground and was able to display their originality on the field.
There were 9 tries in both the first and second-half of the game, and Jubilo won a clear-cut victory over Fukuoka Sanix Blues by a score 59-6. After the game, captain Yamaoka gripped a mike and said to the supporters, “Please support us with hot cheers for this season too!” Yamaoka promised to play an active part for this season in front of many supporters.
The Japan Rugby Top League 2009-2010 opened in September. This year, many people are paying attention to whether the 7-man team rugby will be made an official part of the Olympic games.
On April 21, YAMAHA Motor Jubilo held a press conference to introduce new comers. This year’s notable addition is Kevin Schuler, who became the General Superintendent of YAMAHA Motor Jubilo. Schuler was born on March 11, 1967 in New Zealand. He was formerly the representative of the New Zealand national team. In 1996, he joined YAMAHA Motor Jubilo as a forward player. In 2001, he came to Japan again and became the full-time head coach of YAMAHA Motor Jubilo. In his second year of coaching Jubilo, he led the team to win the championship of the Kansai A League.
That year, Jubilo fulfilled their strong desire to win the championship. From 2003, he became the coach of Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, returning to Japan in 2009, when he became the General Superintendent of YAMAHA Motor Jubilo. The General Superintendent system is the first introduction for Jubilo since the team was founded and the supervisor system was introduced since 2000, when Nobuaki Hanaoka became the supervisor.
During the press conference, Schuler said, “I will coach Jubilo on the full-time base this year. All the players have high abilities, and it is my job to develop one’s faculties, and train them. I want to create a strong team.”
This year’s noteworthy player is rookie Mose Tuiali’i. Tuiali’i belonged to a team called the Crusaders, which is the strongest team in Super 14 (rugby league of the 14 strong teams from the southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, Australia and South Africa). He was on the New Zealand national team as a FW. He was born in 1984 and measures out at 192cm/112kg. He changed his hairstyle from a natural perm (which was called “the bomb hair” and became a topic when he arrived to Japan last December) to close-cropped hair and said, “I want to use my full experience in New Zealand and contribute to Jubilo and make it a strong team. I also want to tell young teammates my experiences and contribute to Jubilo, so that a lot of Japanese National Team players may be chosen from Jubilo.”
Several new players from the last season are the major power of the team as well.

The most noticeable ‘new hope’ player, Ayumu Goromaru, qualified to attend to Hanazono (National Rugby League of High School) three years in a row when he was in Saga Kogyo High School. (All three years, the high school went to the best 8 ranking). He was selected to represent the Japan Under 17 division.
He then went on to join Waseda University’s Faculty of Sport Sciences and played an active part on the team as a full back from the freshman year as a regular player. He contributed in leading the Waseda team to the championship of the National League of University.
In March 2005, Goromaru was selected as the representative of Japan, and on April 16, 2005, he debuted as the representative of Japan at the game with Uruguay.
Reuben Thorne and Rory Duncan participated in Super 14 (rugby league of the 14 strong teams from the southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, Australia and South Africa) up until the 2008 season and possess many useful skills on the playing field, so many people expect them to succeed.
Reuben Thorne is a flanker back and belonged to a team called the Crusaders, the champion of Super 14 in 2008. He went to the finals 9 times and won 7 times during team Super 12. When he was the member of All Blacks, which is the representative team of New Zealand, he participated in 51 games and was the captain of the team in 23 games.
Rory Duncan is a rock player and played with the Cheetahs (one of Super 14) from 2006, playing three seasons. He has a lot of experience. Duncan is 194-centimeters tall and weighs 120 kilograms; he is expected to raise the level of forward play as well as the accuracy of line-out, which was the problem of Jubilo last season.
Male Sa’u is a center who was born in 1987. He is the second youngest player on the Jubilo team. He has already participated in three Pre-season Match games. In spite of an innocent face and appealing smile, his break through of the line is extremely powerful and attracts many fans.
In the beginning of the press conference, Otsubo, the representative of YAMAHA Motor Jubilo made welcoming remarks. “This year, Jubilo aims for the championship of the Japanese League in small number of players, but each player has high abilities. All 5 new players are reliable players. Inviting Mr. Schuler as the General Superintendent, I wish that Jubilo will grow up to a stronger team.”
The team hopes to receive lots of support and encouragement from our readers.

For more information about YAMAHA Motor Jubilo, see the website: www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/rugby

 From J SELECT Magazine, November 2009

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