Snapshot! – SCRUM! Fukuoka Touch Rugby!

The Ruamoko Fukuoka Touch Rugby team just kicked off in April 2011 but they already have over 20 regular members of all ages, nationalities and genders. They play at Maizuru Park on Sundays and everyone’s welcome to join in for fun, exercise and socializing. The more the merrier. Join the scrum!

We recently had a chat with Shino, the team manager, about how Ruamoko got started, and what their goals are as a team, for now and the future…

How long has Ruamoko been playing touch rugby in Fukuoka?
We have been playing for about a year now, since April 2011. The idea from our captain Aroha. As the sport is new in Japan, we were determined to really introduce this sport to Fukuoka and to be an international team. We wanted to bring Japanese and foreigners together – and of course, to have fun!

Where do you play? How often do you play?
We usually play at Maizuru Park, field right next to Ohori park, 1pm on Sundays. We sometimes play in tournaments that take place outside Fukuoka or have friendly games against other teams from Hiroshima, Saga and so on. Out of town games can be a great reason for a little weekend trip too.

How many members are on Ruamoko?
We currently have more than 20 regular members. However, as we are a casual team, we welcome anyone who’d like to just drop by to give it a try. I must admit the number of players coming to our training sessions can vary- but everyone’s welcome, more the merrier!

How has the team developed over the year since you began?
We really started as a small team- there were times we actually didn’t even have enough players to have a proper training! However, over the past 10 months we have grown and we now have more than 20 players. Now we need two fields for training! It has been really great introducing this rather new but fun, fast paced, non-contact sport to the city. It has definitely been a great opportunity for us to foster international exchange between the “gaijins” and Japanese people in Fukuoka.

Tell us about your team uniform!
Our t-shirt logo was designed by one of our Maori friends, and it mimics the shape of Fukuoka. Our team is named after Ruamoko- the God of earthquakes and volcanos in Maori legend.

What sort of teams do you compete against?
Over the last weekend we played against the rugby team from a local high school. One of Ruamoko’s members is an ALT English teacher, and it was his students’ team! It was a great opportunity for both teams, and a chance for the students to communicate with people from different backgrounds. We’ll play against the Sasebo Technical High School rugby team next weekend, just a friendly match, but we definitely are becoming more recognised and are growing.

What’s your goal as a team?
As I’ve said earlier, we really wish to bring the locals and the “gaijins” together. Sport in Japan tends to be quite intense, so we want to introduce a social sport team, where our members can simply have fun and enjoy. We think it’s even more fun when you’re playing with a good mix of people- from different nationalities, jobs, ages, genders, fitness levels. And it’s good for your health too!

That being said, our next main goal is to grow the team into a more professional team, and to participate more in tournaments this year. Last year we actually won the Nagasaki Tournament in the “Enjoy” league, and have recently been in contact with the Japan Touch Association for their support, so I can definitely say we are becoming more recognised, along with this fun sport Touch Rugby.

So what’s your final message to anyone thinking of joining in the fun?
Find us on Facebook by searching “Fukuoka Touch Rugby”. You’ll find updates on practice sessions and get-togethers there. We’re a fun group of people with nice mix of nationalities and genders, and we welcome anybody interested in Fukuoka! All ages, fitness levels, nationalities and LGBT ok!!! Join Ruamoko!

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