The University of Adelaide Roma’s kick started their 2019 campaign with a tour to Hokkaido Japan, playing in an International Invitational Tournament, The Pirika Mosiri Sevens, run by the Hokkaido Rugby Football Club.
Looked after extremely well, the Roma's stayed in one of the Hokkaido Rugby Club's many hotels in the small ski resort township of Jozankei which was walking distance to the club and playing fields.
As the finishing touches on their tournament preparation, the Roma's team trained on the club's picturesque fields and then went down to the local river where we completed our cold recovery sessions.
The Roma's team integrated into the local community and township by splitting the playing group into four teams, who navigated through the local streets, asking residents for directions to landmarks, to tell them jokes and pose for plenty of selfies.
On the Roma's team's day off from training included a day trip to the city of Sapporo, which are set to hold some of the pool matches of the Rugby World Cup later this year. They also visited a local school where they taught both rugby and some English, with all the players being treated like royalty.
Tournament Day One
The Roma's started their campaign against eventual silver medalists, Japanese Development. They started the match strongly matching the National side with a good lead at half time. Unfortunately, the Roma's didn’t close out the match.
The following matches were against with Yokohama TKM (Japan), Panthera Ladies (Malaysia) and Brave Louve (Japan), and the Roma's secured one win and two narrow losses.
The first day of matches became an uphill battle as the Roma's team unfortunately suffered four tournament ending injuries. Playing with eight players is never an easy ask, but they managed to finish day 1 with high spirits.
Tournament Day Two
Battled wearied from the first day of competition, the Roma's faced their Aon UNI7s counterparts, the University of Queensland in the first match of day two. Starting the match well against the young University of Queensland side was a promising sign of performance, but lack of substitutions resulted in a blow out in the second half.
The following match against Thailand was a great performance by the players on the field, as they came back from a deficit to win the match, sealing a birth in the Plate Playoff.
The Roma's then came up against a solid Toyko Phoenix side, where the score unfortunately got away from them.
In summary, despite the injury toll we performed admirably with a placing of 6th.
On the Roma's team's final day in Japan, they were taken sightseeing by the local club, where they went to the Olympic Ski Jump and around the city of Sapporo, mixing in some shopping and a Japanese BBQ to finish off the trip.
The Roma's team and staff will miss the Japanese hospitality, as the staff at Hotel Kinkei were amazing, and the Onsens (Japanese hot springs) which were luxury.
The Roma’s look forward to experiencing more tours in the future.