Last Saturday Rhino once more sponsored the annual tournament hosted by Oxford University RFC at the Iffley Road ground in honour of Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku, the first Japanese national ever to represent the Blues XV in the early 1980’s. This year marked the 10th anniversary of Oku’s tragic death whilst on diplomatic duty in Iraq, and the Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Keichi Hayashi presented a new trophy to mark the occasion, donated by former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in his capacity as President of the Japan RFU, to the winning captain Tom Clark of the Kew Occasionals. Kew defeated a combined Vincent’s Club and Hertford College XV and London Japanese in a three team tournament. Oku is remembered not only for his contribution to the international post-war reconstruction programme in Iraq, but also for his massive contribution to Japan’s efforts to stage the Rugby World Cup and the award of the tournament in 2019 is widely regarded as part of his legacy. The opening game of the tournament was refereed by Paul Farrelly MP, representing the Lords & Commons RFC.
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