Qatar cut queue to Division II after beating Guam 13-7 in the HSBC A5N D3 final. PHOTO: Kenji Demura/RJP.
In today’s HSBC A5N Division III final, Qatar continued their march up the Asian rugby ladder after beating Guam 13-7 to gain promotion to next year’s Division II competition where they will face Thailand (relegated from Division I), Malaysia and Iran.
Qatar, twice winners of Division IV in Dubai (2011 and 2012) made short work of their stay in Division III after advancing from another hard-fought contest versus Guam (in their third appearance in the Division III final).
Qatar posted the only points of the first half with a penalty from flyhalf Paul Beard in the 13th minute as both sides’ bulky forward packs fought it out early on. Guam looked a bit more dangerous in the backs but lost advantage when captain Paul Claros was sin-binned in the 15th minute.
Qatar couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities and then lost their own open-side Jamie Frost to the bin in the 32nd minute. Neither side could break through after the first forty as Qatar entered the break with a 3-0 lead.
The second half saw Guam leap out to a try in the first minute after the resumption of play through a nice 20 metre scamper from hooker Brandon O’Mallon. Centre Gerard Aguon converted the try to put Guam in the lead 7-3 after 41 minutes.
In the 56th minute Frost redeemed himself by scoring Qatar’s only try of the match to put them ahead 10-7 after Beard’s conversion. The game remained in the balance for the final 20 minutes when Qatar No 8 Mark Hibbs was sin-binned for infringing at the tackle. The Qatari defence held strong as Guam threw everything at them in their attempt to re-take the lead but lost reserve forward Matthew Borja to the sin-bin in the 76th minute. The resulting penalty was neatly finished off by Beard to give Qatar the lead at 13-7 and the HSBC A5N Division III silverware.
Qatar captain Gavin Piek said, “We knew Guam was going to be tough. They are big, physical boys and we knew they would come at us. But we were surprised and I think a bit put off our game by how hard they were hitting us. It was a bit scrappy and we didn’t play to our patterns like we wanted to. It really was a very tough game. Fair play to Guam for playing as hard as they did today. But we came through in the end.
“We know we are going to have to improve to compete in Division II. But this win is going to do heaps for rugby in Qatar. It’s going to put us back on the map again. I think many of the teams here this week didn’t even know where Qatar was at the start of the tournament and hopefully now we’ve made everyone aware that Qatar is a nation that can play rugby.”
Guam v Qatar 1st Half
Guam v Qatar 2nd Half