Steven Sablan (C) gets stopped by
Indonesia's defence in their
match. Picture: Courtesy of
Asian 5 Nations
Qatar upset the HSBC Asian 5 Nations formbook today with a resounding 76-nil win over top seeds China. In the afternoon's opening semi final, Guam cruised past Indonesia 33-15 in wet conditions to book its place in the Division II promotion match on Saturday, June 8, at Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kuala Lumpur (kick-off at 16.00 local time).
Under grey skies and heavy rains for most of the afternoon,Qatar, HSBC Asian 5 Nations (HSBC A5N) Division IV champions in 2011 and 2012 kept their winning ways alive despite marking their debut in Division III. With Qatar scoring in the opening minute of the match, the result was never really in doubt, coming as it did against a depleted China XV missing most of its first-choice backline who are on duty for their provinces at the upcoming All-China Games sevens qualification tournament.
Qatar was paced by the boot of ex-Arabian Gulf RFU flyhalf Paul Beard, who collected 26 points today with 10 of 12 kicking including nine conversions and one penalty.
Winger Gavin Millar opened the scoring for Qatar in the first minute, followed by four more tries in the first half, the last by Millar as well, making him one of two Qatar players to collect a brace today alongside outside centre Colm Coyle.
Prop Joseph Goonetilleke and centres Lillian Cance and Coyle added tries with Millar's second bookending the five-try opening half. Beard added a penalty and was a perfect five for five with his conversion attempts to give Qatar a 38-0 lead at half.
The conditions improved dramatically with the rains stopping shortly before halftime and the temperatures and humidity dropping, allowing Qatar to keep applying pressure. Qatar ran in six more tries in the second half through wing Mubarak Al Malik, Coyle's second, hooker Shane Kelly, flanker Jamie Frost, and fullback Adam Beadon, before Beard capped off his afternoon with the final try and conversion.
The opening semi final between second seeds Guam and Indonesia was marred by heavy rains, but Guam handled the wet weather best and advanced to a convincing 33-15 win. Guam jumped out to an early start of its own this afternoon, scoring its first try through No 8 Ron Berking in the third minute, and adding a penalty after Indonesian prop Bambang Sugiharto was sin-binned in the 11th minute.
Indonesia replied through a penalty of its own to flyhalf Bobby Sumantri but Guam answeredquickly and efficiently with a second penalty through fullback Gerard Aguon. Guam flanker William Williams crossed over for the second try of the match after some nice open field running in the 37th minute to send his side into the locker room with a 16-3 lead and the halftime momentum.
The second half saw Indonesia breach the Guam defence for the first time off an intercept try to centre Steven Field who scampered 60 metres to finish and claw the Rhinos back to an 8-16 deficit. But Guam answered just moments later through a try to lock Robert Leon Guerrero to extend their lead to 23-8 after Aguon's conversion.
The two sides tussled for the next 20 minutes before Guam broke the deadlock with a try to prop Basil O'Mallon before pacy centre Chris Sgro finished a clean backline move to put Guam ahead 33-8 with ten minutes remaining.
Indonesia scored a consolation try in the 74th minute through lock Florian Busi.
Sumantri's conversion brought Indonesia back to 33-15 but it was not enough on the day to overturn the second seeds and Indonesia will again have its back to the wall in a relegation match against China.
Meanwhile Brunei Darussalam will be competing in Division 5 of the Asian 5 Nations, which is hosted in Cambodia.
The national rugby team will face the host country in two games on July 5 and 7 at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Stadium.
The tournament will only feature Brunei and Cambodia as Laos moved up to division four after topping division five for three years straight.Courtesy of Asian 5 Nations