Rugby is undoubtedly one of Oxford University’s strongest sports; so it is perhaps not surprising that the prospect of playing for the Blues lures even those who have already represented their country in the sport. Makoto Tosa, now completing an Advanced Diploma in British & European Studies at Lady Margaret Hall College and playing flanker for the Blues, is one such player. His sporting pedigree is undeniable, after having played for his university team and for the NEC Green Rockets in Japan, Makoto represented the Japan under-23 team whilst still studying at the Kanto Gakuin University.
When in the Japanese under-23 squad Makoto’s training schedule was strenuous; with 4 or 5 compulsory training sessions, gym sessions and a match every week. Despite his university studies, Makoto lived the life of a professional athlete with his coaches telling him how to train, how to eat and how to work within a team. This atmosphere, he admits is a world away from his training with the Oxford Blues which consists of two team training sessions a week. Makoto sees the difference in the superior rugby pedigree of the Oxford players, the majority of whom he says “used to play for pro-academy, national youth or Super 14 teams”, and are far more comfortable training individually.
With such an international sporting achievement under his belt, one may ask why Makoto chose to apply to Oxford University rather than simply taking up rugby as a profession? Even though he still wishes to trial for pro clubs later in his life, Makoto commented that the chance of studying in Oxford was too good an opportunity to miss. With the prospect of improving his English and learning more about Europe at the same time “playing rugby in a good environment” being the deciding factor.
When I asked Makoto this years’ Six Nations tournament, like the majority of pundits in the sport hes thinks France will run away with it. With the varsity match now over, Makoto can turn his attention to the equally important competition of the rugby cuppers plate tournament and aid LMH’s standing in the competition, adding another rugby accolade to his sporting pedigree.