Rhino Rugby once more sponsored the Oku Memorial Trophy tournament, played at Iffley Road Oxford in early December. The event is played in honour of Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku, the first Japanese national to play for the Blues XV at Oxford and become a member of Vincent’s the prestigious university sportsman’s club. He was tragically killed in Iraq in late 2003 whilst on diplomatic duty assisting the post war reconstruction effort in that country. London Japanese, of which ‘Katsu’ was a founder, the Kew Occasionals and a combined XV from Vincent’s Club and his old college, Hertford, contested the trophy, which has been played for since 2005,and hosted by Oxford University RFC for the last three years. Kew defeated London Japanese 35-12 and Vincent’s/Hertford 31-7 to retain the trophy, with Vincent’s/Hertford defeating London Japanese 29-24 in the other game. The Trophy was presented by Mr Kazuya Mori of the Japanese Embassy in London who thanked all participants and supporters of the event for continuing to honour Ambassador Oku, who was also a senior official of the Japan RFU who campaigned long and hard during his career for their ambitions to host the Rugby World Cup.
London Japanese captain Yoshinari Ihaya and Kew Occasionals captain Tom Clark flank referee and Rhino CEO Reg Clark before the opening game