COME October 28, Fukuoka, Japan, will become the rugby capital of the world.
The World Rugby Festival heads to the home of the cherry blossoms in 2012, and after making the trip to New Zealand, Scotland and then Sydney over the last eight years, there’s no way the Orange Emulators would miss the trip to Japan.
Sporting a team ranging in age from 35 to 69, the Emulators will head up the Colour City’s representation among 5000 other golden oldies tipped to flock to Japan for the seven-day tournament.
The Emulators are expected to come up against sides the likes of host nation Japan, Cook Islands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia and America, but just who the Orange club will take on it its three games won’t be determined until arrival.
However, one thing is for sure.
“We’re a very social group,” player Bill Dwyer smiled.
“We’ve never been to Japan before. We’re expecting a lot of rice.”
The Emulators will also play three games in grade eight, which is a non-competitive grade at the World Rugby Festival.
Grades one to four in golden oldies tournaments are serious competition, grades five through to seven are semi-competitive and grades eight to 10 are “very social.”
And that’s the way the Emulators like it.
“There’s different gradings and what grading you play in depends on how competitive the competition is,” Murray Reay said.
There’s 26 in the party making the trip to Japan with 16 players set to take the field.
There’s also an active group of women who come along to support the team.
“The women are just as involved as the men,” president and team manager Clive Walker said.
“We’re always looking for more people, too.”
The 2012 World Rugby Festival in Japan kicks off on October 28, however, the Emulators fly over to Fukuoka on October 19 to enjoy a week in Japan before the rugby begins.