First Ever “All Japan” Team Played in 1908 and were Non-Japanese

All Japan beat Shanghai 13-6 at Kobe

On 30th December 1908 in Kobe, a rugby team named the All Japan team beat Shanghai by 2 goals and 1 try (13 points) to I goal and 1 try (8 points).

Here is a rather poorly written description of the play from the Kobe Herald Newspaper:

“A. F. Wheen of Shanghai made a pretty run down the touch line and scored for Shanghai, the try was unconverted. From a scrum from the Shanghai goal line, Austen of Japan secured the ball and making a rush, gained a most praiseworthy try by inches. Ward converted making the score after twenty minutes of play: Japan 5 Shanghai … 3. L. Mecre, after a tricky and clever run scored Japan’s second try what was not converted. C. T. Lucas of Japan then scored between the posts which was converted by J. Ward making the score at half time: Japan 13 Shanghai …3. Resuming, A. F. Wheen scored a try by the prettiest piece of combination play seen yet. Wheen converted and the final score stood at: Japan ..13 Shanghai …8.

In this interesting game witnessed, it is difficult to say wherein one side was better than the other. It was splendid to see how the Japan three quarters made the most of their opportunities when they got them, and, had Totton given them more chances, they would doubtedless done much better. Lambert, Somerville and Lucas seemed to be starved, but the Japan Captain knew his game and the risks of an open game with a slippery ground and a greasy ball.

H. E. Reynell maintained his reputation as the soundest full-back seen in this country. All Japan: H. E. Reynell (F.B) – C. J. Lucas, B. W. Somerville, R. C. Lambert, L. Mecre (3/4), J. Ward, G. K. Totton (Capt) (i/2), C. L. Spence, A. G. Todd, L. C. Sharman, N. Buckle, J. S. Cartwright, R. N. Postlewaite, A. W. Austen, C. Von Fallot

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