Japan 28 — 26 Georgia
Japan started very quickly—and then floored it.
It was high-tempo attack to the try line for eighty minutes as the men from the Far East played an amazing coherent brand of rugby uncommon to the UK. The props were slightly wider than the centres, the wingers quicker than the locks but did they all run!
Georgia, nicknamed the Tractor Men, took a different approach. They stood firm and defiant, waited patiently to make their tackles and then ‘ploughed-in’. In contact they were very strong and aggressive. Frequently, but narrowly, they changed the point of attack. Wings—never heard of them–was almost the Georgian response to Japanese flourish.
The contrast in styles produced arguably the finest game seen at Aldershot during IDRC 15.
It was enthralling; an absolute credit to both teams and nations. Japan led 23 — 5 but in the fourth quarter two booming tries from Georgia changed the face of the contest and lifted the score to 23 — 19.
Against that immediate success Georgia rumbled and re-rumbled to made it 23 — 26. During each thunderpiece the French referee found some Japanese player at fault to the point of a Yellow Card. The Georgians took a scrum, and then the re-re-sets that followed.
The Japanese clung on by their finger tips. Whistle poised, clock, announcer and crowd all exhausted as Japan gained possession and opened up the blue skies thinking.
Tora—Tora—Tora. Do or Die and in the bravest of attempts to conjure a win, crossed the line as referee M Jean-Pierre Guiraud, at full tilt, attempted to draw breath.
Japan 28 – 26. Inscrutable? not from where I was watching. More an exhibition of unconfined delirious joy
There is applause and applause and on 19th October the Army Stadium rose in unison to acclaim a special game of rugby.
Japan into the Plate Final at Maidenhead on Tue 19th October at 1900hrs where they will again meet the Royal Navy.
Travel — you must, it’s worth every penny and second of the journey. Take your children for the pleasure of saying ‘do you remember, we were there’.