SUFC embarked on a 10-day tour to Tokyo on Sunday 16th September to participate in the World University Invitational Tournament, this was the second iteration of the tournament which was founded in 2015 by Oxford University inline with the Rugby World Cup in England. In 2019, it was the turn of Japan and Waseda University.
The 31-man squad played 5 games over the course of 6 days. Day 1 saw us defeat Siberian Federal University with a comfortable 29-7 score-line. Will Wennerbom picked up the MOM award after scoring 24 of the team’s points including a hat-trick of tries.
Day 2 of the competition had the Students face two bruising encounters against Waseda University and Oxford University respectively. In the first match the boys in blue and gold picked up a 7-nil win over the hosts before facing a very physical match against Oxford, James Kane scored a 7 pointer on the bell to claim the victory 10-8, the win saw us finish top of the pool.
With only one days rest we then went into the final’s series where we faced the other newcomers to the competition, Bordeaux University in the Semi-Final. At half time the scores were locked at 7 apiece, unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for us on the day as the French side ran away with it in the second half scoring 15 unanswered points to win the match 22-7 and claim their place in the Grand Final against last years winners Cape Town.
With less than a 24 hour turn-around the teams were back out on the paddock for the final day of the comp. We once again faced Oxford University after they fell to Cape Town in their Semi. Our first match up with the Dark Blues in the pool stages was a firey one and we knew they would be gunning for revenge, but the boys from down under held strong and managed to come away with a 10-5 victory which secured the 3rd place finish for SUFC. Congratulations to the Ikey Tigers from Cape Town who went on to win the tournament for the second time in a row.
As well as the footy the Students from Sydney Uni have had plenty of time to embrace the culture of Japan, visiting the Samurai Museum, Art Galleries, Shrines and Temples, Animal Cafes, Karaoke Bars, Virtual Reality and Gaming stores plus much more! The team also managed to soak up the World Cup atmosphere by attending the France v Argentina match at Tokyo Stadium along with viewing several other matches in the Fan Zones scattered around the City. We were also lucky enough to be able to attend a Wallabies training session ahead of their clash with Wales, another once in a lifetime experience and great to catch up with fellow Students, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga'a and Bernard Foley!
SUFC would like to express our thanks to Waseda University as hosts for organizing such a great and memorable tournament. The opening and closing ceremonies were a wonderful way for the 8 teams from around the globe to interact with one another away from the rugby pitch. We would also like to thank those who supported the tour financial, including sponsors; Buildcorp, Kaplan Professional, Shawl Group and Thelem Consulting, without their support the trip would not have been possible.
The memories and bonds formed over the past 10 days will stay with this group for the rest of their lives, and we look forward to making many more at the next World University Invitational Tournament to be held in France in 2023.
You can view some photos from the trip here >
Sydney University 29 defeat Siberian Federal University 7
Scorers - T: Wennerbom (3), Yeo (1), C: Wennerbom (3), P: Wennerbom (1)
Sydney University 7 defeat Waseda University 0
Scorers – T: Travers (1), C: Kane (1)
Sydney University 10 defeat Oxford University 8
Scorers – T: Kane (1), C: Kane (1), P: Kane (1)
Bordeaux University 22 defeat Sydney University 7
Scorers – T: Travers (1), C: Kane (1)
Sydney University 10 defeat Oxford University 5
Scorers – T: O’Regan (1), McCalman (1)