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Photo Information

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Lee Kozokas, left, an airborne intelligence officer with the 390th Intelligence Squadron, attempts to shake off his opponent during a rugby tournament game May 20, 2018, at Okinawa International University Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Terry Wong)

Photo by Pfc. Terry Wong

Rugby Rumble

24 May 2018 | Pfc. Terry Wong 10th Marine Regiment

GINOWAN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The Yomitan Beach Boys faced off in a rugby match against the Camp Hansen Kaijus May 20, 2018 at Okinawa International University in Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

The two teams are the only primarily American teams in the Okinawa Rugby Football Union.  They started around the same time in 2013 and played one another for the first time in October of the same year.

James C. Deak, coach of the Yomitan Beach Boys, said his team consists of service members and civilians from around Okinawa. 

The Kaijus are a Marine-only team with members from various units stationed in Okinawa, including 3rd Marine Logistics Group and 3rd Marine Division.

Deak said the two teams have faced various times, with the Kaijus usually victorious.

Rugby matches are normally 80-minutes long, however, this game was only 70-minutes long due to the heat and humidity of Okinawa.

Before the match, the rivals greeted each other with handshakes and hugs. When the match started, the intensity and ferocity began to show on the faces of the players. 

The teams traded points back and forth in the first half of the match. In the second half, the Beach Boys took control. No matter how hard the Kaijus played, they couldn't stop the Beach Boys' momentum, leading to the Beach Boys winning the match, with the final score of 36 to 6. 

“We played great as a team,” said Marine Capt. Justin Springman, a forward for the Beach Boys and a plans officer with 3rd MLG's operations staff. “Everyone seemed to do what they were supposed to do, and we did it against a very physical team.”

The two teams showed excellent sportsmanship during and after their match, shaking hands with each other as well as giving compliments.

“It was a good game,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Eric Knox, the president of the Kaijus and a maintenance management chief with Headquarters Regiment, 3rd Marine Logistics Group. "All I can say is the rivalry will continue and we will be playing for revenge next time.”