Two of the ex-pat rugby sides in Tokyo, the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club — the club that introduced rugby to Japan in the 1860s – and the Tokyo Crusaders, played one another for the MacFadyen Cup at the YC&AC’s ground in Yamate on Saturday.
The game is played in honour of Gareth MacFadyen, who died in December 2000 as a result of burns inflicted during a Christmas party in Auckland. Ironically he was also celebrating the fact that his employers, Merrill Lynch, were sending him back to Tokyo.
A graduate of Otago University, MacFadyen first played for the Crusaders in 1996, and during his three years in Japan made a great many friends in the rugby community. He also turned out for the YC&AC on occasions, including a run in the annual Interport game against the Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club.
The memorial game has been played between the two sides since 2001, with New Zealand referee Vinny Munro even being flown up one year to officiate, and while both clubs have seen a drop in player numbers in recent years there was still plenty of talent on display.
Japan Sevens rep Jamie Henry stole the show, showing the pace that saw him score one of the best tries ever seen in the Sevens World Series (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4weGzdvXeFI) as the YC&AC ran away with a 61-21 victory, after being 21-14 down early in the second half.
As YC&AC rugby club president Simon Ryan pointed out, “Gareth loved rugby and always took any opportunity to play for either club. It’s fitting that today’s match was played with the same passion and spirit that Gareth always played with.”