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State Labuan

Gladiators A and Labuan RC, lift rugby crowns

LAST weekend the action was centred in Miri and Kuching, with two tournaments taking place simultaneously, the third Curtin international 7’s and the annual KRFC Song Thian Cheok Memorial 7’s.

The tournament in Miri was won by Labuan RC who were making their debut while in Kuching it was Kuching Politeknik’s Gladiators A who took the honours.

Eleven teams out of the original 12 took part in Miri while 14 out of the original 16 locked shoulders in Kuching.

The 12 teams that were confirmed for Miri last weekend were the host/organiser’s Curtin Crocs and Colts, Miri DRU’s Rhinos and Hornbills, Shoaw Old Boys and Shoaw Warriors from Kuching, Politeknik Mukah Falcons, Bintulu RC, and from Brunei, Bandar Knights, KB Pythons and Flying Kukris and Labuan RC.

The 12 teams were drawn into four pools of three with Kukris, Pythons and Shoaw Old Boys in pool A, Rhinos, Crocs and Bintulu RC in pool B.

In pool C were Knights, Politeknik Mukah and Colts while Hornbills, Shoaw Warriors and Labuan were in pool D.

The tournament was held at the Curtin university field in Senadin.

The Resident of Miri Antonio Kahti Galis, Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai and Curtin RC’s advisor Mawi Taib were present on Saturday morning to declare open the tournament.

The pool preliminary games started on Saturday after Antonio, Lai, Mawi and the dean of Curtin university, performed the kick-off.

With three games for each pool, there were a total of 12 games scheduled, with the pool leaders and first runners-up advancing to the cup quarter-finals and second runners-up of each pool going into the spoon semi-finals for Sunday.

All the teams that were in Miri last weekend showed a fair standard of rugby with no team being the whipping boys, with teams like the Falcons from Mukah showing that they were not in Miri to make the numbers.

Similarly so were Bintulu while the Hornbills and Colts, although the development feeder teams to their senior sides, the Rhinos and Crocs respectively, acquit themselves quite well.

Labuan, Old Boys and Warriors, and the remaining two teams from Brunei, Knights and Pythons, with their wins gave an indication that they are the teams to feature in the last cup quarters.

The quarter-finals on Sunday saw the four pool winners facing the pool second placed teams in a cross-over format.

Unfortunately the Flying Kukris from Brunei were a no show for Saturday’s first game and thus conceded a walk-over to their opponents, Pythons.

With their pull out from the tournament due to some miscommunication between the teams and their management, the other two teams in pool A only played one game each. With just two teams in the pool, it was a matter of who would finish top of the pool for the quarters on Sunday.

The game between the two teams, Pythons and Warriors was won by the latter with a score of 21-7 to grab the top spot for the pool.

In pool B’s matches, Rhinos defeated the Crocs 27-0 and won 31-12 against Bintulu while the Crocs defeated Bintulu 17-0.

So Rhinos and Crocs were in the cup quarters with Rhinos topping the pool followed by the Crocs in second place while Bintulu dropped into the spoon semis.

Pool C’s match-ups saw the Knights going down to the Falcons 0-19 while they defeated the Colts 33-5 in their next match and in the last pool match, Falcons recorded their second win against the Colts, 19-0 to top the pool, followed by the Knights and Colts.

Pool D was topped by Warriors from Shoaw who won 59-3 against the Hornbills and 12-7 versus Labuan, while the Hornbills went down to Labuan in their match-up by 0-35.

Labuan thus took the second spot in the pool followed by the Hornbills in the wooden spoon spot. The cup quarter-finalists for Sunday were Shoaw Old Boys, Pythons from pool A, Rhinos and Crocs from pool B, Falcons and Knights from pool C and Warriors and Labuan from pool D.

Spoon semi-finalists were Bintulu, Colts and Hornbills with the Colts getting a by in their semi to go straight into the spoon final where the winners of the second semi-final between Bintulu and Hornbills await them.

The first quarter-final on Sunday was between pool A’s top team, Shoaw Old Boys and pool B’s second placed team, Crocs and this was won by the former 26-7 to advance to the semi-finals while the Crocs dropped into the bowl semi-finals.

The second of the quarters was between pool B’s table toppers, Rhinos against pool A’s second placed team, Pythons and this was won by the latter with a score of 14-5 to advance into the cup semis while the Rhinos went into the bowl semis.

Pool C’s top team, the Falcons met pool D’s second placed team, Labuan for a semis in the cup and it was Labuan who took the honours with a 14-0 win to send their opponents into the bowl semis.

In the last cup quarters, it pool D’s top side, the warriors against pool C’s second finishers, Knights, and this was a close and tight game with the former just sneaking through with just the game’s 1 try, 5-0. So it was the cup semis featuring Old Boys against Labuan and Pythons facing Warriors.

In the spoon semis, only one game was played as the Colts received a bye into the final, and it was Bintulu who prevailed 21-0 against the Hornbills to face off against the Colts.

The bowl semi-finals featured the losing cup quarter-finalists with the Crocs meeting the Falcons and the Knights taking on the Rhinos for the spots in the final.

The Crocs won 17-0 while the Knights won 12-7 to set a bowl final meeting. In the cup semi-finals match-ups, the Old Boys went down to Labuan in a tight and fast game to drop into the plate final while in the other semi-final, their ‘siblings’, the Warriors lost to the Pythons 12-19 for plate final meet up.

The day’s first of four finals, for the spoon, was between Colts and Bintulu and it was the latter who lifted the crown with a 12-10 win.

The second of the finals, the bowl was between Falcons and Knights, and it the Knights who won with a 15-0 score while in the penultimate final, the plate, it was match up between the 2 Kuching sides, Shoaw Old Boys and Warriors.

This was another game that was close but in the end the better fitness of the Warriors carried the day with them lifting the plate with a 19-7 victory.

In the cup final, it was Labuan who quickly got off the mark with a try right after the kick-off but the Pythons did not let this shock deter them.

In the first half it was Labuan who were leading, although the Pythons did come back to narrow the deficit.

In the second half, it was the Pythons who took the fight to Labuan and for a while it looked like they might overhaul the points deficit but Labuan regrouped and added to their tally to run out winners 29-17.

After the dust had settled, the winners were presented with their trophies and prizes, and Amira Misnu presented the trophy to the spoon winners, Bintulu.

The bowl trophy and prizes were given away by the SRU’s honorary secretary to the winners and losers while Ali Tahar, a MRU referee gave away the trophy and prizes to the plate winners and losers.

Mawi Taib, the Curtin RC advisor gave away the trophy and prizes to the cup winners and losers.

There were also cash prizes for the cup winners and runners-up, with the winners taking home RM1,200 and the runners-up pocketing RM1,050.

The CIMB/Cobra U-16 Samarahan schools league resumes today with the second round. Asajaya 2 will play against Muara Tuang in the first game while Asajaya meet Penrissen in the second game.

I’m not sure if many people are aware of an interesting statistic from last week’s rugby world cup quarter-finals.

Except for New Zealand, all the other three winners were not the pool champions, having lost one game, except for the Australians who lost twice. Today’s semi-final will be between Wales and France and tomorrow’s will be between Australia and New Zealand.

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