KARON: Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, from Dubai, beat The Jailers, from Rugby, England, 17-12 to win the 6th Phuket International Rugby 10s, held at Karon Municipal Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. The Cup final for the Clive Williamson Memorial Trophy on May 30 was a tribute to the top-quality rugby played throughout the tournament, with the “Christinas” lifting the cup in their second appearance in the Phuket 10s. The first couple of minutes of play saw both teams settling in with some clean rucks and probing runs. Determined to show their opposite numbers how to “clean out” a ruck and maintain possession, big forwards on both teams put in crunching tackles and strong charges up the center of the field. The Christinas found their way across the try line first after some quick passing and several phases of flowing rugby, finally scoring through Wayne Marsters on the right wing. Throughout the rest of the first half, The Jailers struggled to contain the Christinas’ star backs, borrowed from semi-final teams to make up the squad. Five minutes later, the Christinas’ Nnambi Ezulike found space down the right wing and sprinted down the sideline at a blistering pace to score the Christinas’ second try, which was converted for an extra two points. He was followed just two minutes later by Jean-Pierre O’Reilly, who scored after a fine solo run, breaking through The Jailers’ defense. The second half opened with breaking runs and well-placed kicks, resulting in creative and entertaining end-to-end rugby. The Jailers were eager to put points on the board and the Christinas were just as keen to increase their lead. Three minutes into the second half, quick passing saw the Christinas charge upfield only to lose possession with a fumble just yards from an open try line. The Jailers punished the mistake immediately with a strong run downfield ending with a pass to Scott Fitzgerald, who scored jubilantly between the posts and converted the kick for two more points. Now inspired, The Jailers played some brilliant rugby down the left flank and after five phases of play scored again through skipper Mathew Davis. The Christinas replied with more crunching tackles, only to have the compliment returned by Jailers’ forwards. The referee, ruthless all afternoon in penalizing any handling errors, added at least an extra four minutes to the second half for clock stoppages to allow players regain their feet and clear vision. The Jailers, now dominating all facets of play, went for a last charge for a try, only to run out of time. Final score: Christinas 17, Jailers 12. Earlier in the afternoon, the Melbourne Rams beat the Old Bill from Hong Kong by three tries to two to win the Plate final in another entertaining exhibition of individual skills and team play – and more crunching tackles right through to the final whistle. Crowd favorites in the Bowl final were the British Club Bangkok’s second-string team, BC Pinks, whose wholehearted play against the much bigger Pot Bellied Pigs from Hong Kong had the crowd on their feet cheering. The smaller Thai players did well not to be injured in the Pigs’ tough tackles, and proved convincingly that a clean pair of heels is mightier than mass by winning the match 26-0.
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