Try Try Again: Tokushima Touch Rugby Tournament 2024

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June 1st and 2nd of this year marked the 20th anniversary of the official Tokushima Touch Rugby Tournament hosted by Shikoku University. This event, which began way back in 2004, has solidified itself as a bonafide local tradition. The match brings both foreigners and locals together for an intense weekend of great rugby action and teambuilding. While every game has brought memorable moments, this year in particular had some of the best. With powerful teams from Ehime, Tokushima, Kagawa, Tokyo, and even Fiji facing off on the field, everyone worked together for a truly fantastic weekend.

The Teams

Ehime

Ehime AJET

🍊

Tokushima

Clovers

(A・B)🍀

 

Pugs

(A・B )🐶

 

Sudachi Slayers

⚔️

Kagawa

Amazon Apes

🦧

 

Wahaha Offside

Age 🤣

Kochi

Utter Tosas

🌱

Hiroshima

Kure Shipheads

🚢

Kyoto

Ruamoko &

Flying Fijians

🕊️

Tokyo

Fun With 

Touch Tokyo

👉👈 

Team EHIME!!!📣

The Ehime team consisted of returning veterans and newcomers alike – all with the goal of having fun, pushing their limits, and taking home the victory. Headed by AJET sports coordinator Freya who was returning for the third time, they had a strong foundation to get the ball rolling (pun intended). What the team lacked in raw experience they more than made up for in heart and determination. 

Through a total of seven exhilarating matches, Ehime kept moving forward by both learning and mastering the field, slowly closing the gap. Even until the very last game, pushing through scrapes, bruises, and two full days of on and off the field action, each member made incredible progress. Considering that the tournament was the first time the team had played together, the sheer number of tries (which is how points are called in rugby) scored was enough to impress even the more seasoned groups. Great job, mikans🍊👏👏👏 

The team (from left to right): Dan (honorary Mikan from team Fun with Touch Tokyo), Jackson, Freya, Jarron, Miya & Bria

Featured Players 🎖️

Bria Hemphill (she/her)

Bio: Hi, I’m Bria. I’m an ALT with the Matsuyama BOE. I’m from America. I love being outside, any sort of music-type activity. I played rugby with a women’s team in college, so I am always pumped when this tournament comes around!

The tournament in one sentence: I couldn’t have asked for better opponents for this tournament.

The highlight✨: We scored quite a few tries! We hadn’t played together prior to the tournament and some of us weren’t aware of the rules but after a few games, things started clicking!

A final message about the TTRT 2024: I am so grateful to our teammates. They played their hardest and, although it was tough, we played our best until the end of last game! I’m also grateful to the Clovers, the Tokyo team, Tokushima and Kagawa teams as they really helped us out by subbing in and giving us great tips! We couldn’t have done without support!

🏉🍊🏉

Jarron Andrews (he/him)

Bio: Trinidad Trinidad Trinidad! And Tobago!!!!

The tournament in one sentence: It was fun, interacting and meeting new people along with learning a new sport.

The highlight✨: The nomikai! 🍻

A final message about the TTRT 2024: Ehime is the best prefecture on Shikoku 💪!

Play-by-Play 🏉

The first two matches were a trial by fire of sorts as Ehime faced off against Clover A and Pug A. These two teams from Tokushima University with national players resulted in an 8-0 loss on the first and a 10-0 loss on the second. While it was definitely a tough start, the fact that Ehime managed to keep them within 10 was incredibly impressive. Not only that, but taking on such a challenge gave them the push they needed to quickly learn the ropes while working out a good structure and passing game. This solid team-building was immediately apparent during the final two matches of the day which couldn’t have been more different.

Feelin’ the heat

Stretch n’ strategize

This time Ehime’s opponents were more familiar as we went up against the rival Kagawa AJET teamー the Amazon Apes. It was an extremely close match with tries being scored one after the other on both sides. Ultimately, it resulted in a near win of 4-3, which, while painful, showed just how much momentum the team had gained. While the next game against Tokyo’s Fun With Touch team didn’t result in a win either, from this point on, the crazy end-to-end matches with frantic defenses never stopped.

As the second day dawned, anticipation was high. We had battled through four hard-fought matches the previous day and had three more chances at victory. Feeling sore but re-energized from a much-needed night of good drinks and great company, the Ehime team was ready to tackle (or in this case touch) whatever was thrown at them. Just like Saturday, Sunday started off with a ruthless matchup against another Tokushima University team.

Sizing up the competish 💪
No wins? No problem 😏~

This time it was Pug B’s turn to face us (junior team to Pug A) and they got a 5-0 win with consistent well-coordinated tries. However, due to a much-improved defense from Ehime they only managed to score half as much as their senior group. From there it was back-to-back rematches against Clover A and Fun With Touch. These were certified nail-biters as players from both sides repeatedly outmaneuvered the opposition to score. At one point Jackson, with Freya and Nick on the defense, even managed to overlap Clover A by bursting through an open gap! The scores could have gone either way, but in the end it was two more close losses of 4-2 and 4-3.  

Closing Remarks 🏁

While they may not have come out victorious this year, the Ehime team still showed their mettle with a great display of grit-your-teeth touch rugby. From hard earned tries to a fantastic defense, such well-developed plays showed the other prefectures that Ehime isn’t slowing down any time soon. 

However, more than just the rugby, the best part was how much positivity came from such a great weekend. New friendships were made and rivalries were born all while raising 3,000 yen for the 2024-2025 scholarship. It may not be much in the long run, but it shows just how amazing events like touch rugby can be. This year set a new bar for the tournament and next year can’t come soon enough!

A Final Message About TTRT 2024 from Freya

Ehime AJET ’24-’25, Sports Coordinator

This was the third year we sent a team for the tournament post-Covid and again, we had a great time. Despite it being the first time most of our team had played touch rugby, I was so impressed with how quickly they picked up the sport and were competitive against even regular teams. This was all down to their enthusiasm and determination, and they did themselves extremely proud! I’m looking forward to the next tournament!

Written by Justin Hobbs
Edited by Gizelle AJ

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