They say good things come to those who wait and it’s true. Because for many of the Saudi Rugby team their first win in Saudi colours was a longtime coming. 6 years coming actually and the fact they beat a largely developmental Jordanian Rugby side will matter not one jot, and nor should it, because they played some exhilarating running rugby on their way to an overwhelming victory.
As the two teams lined up it was obvious to all the battle was experience vs youth, with Saudi fielding a far more experienced team than the Jordanian side but any hopes the Jordanians may have had of their younger legs outlasting the older Saudi teams was quickly put to bed as they started the game at a furious pace and kept it going until the final minute of the match.
Scoring started early and continued at a frantic pace. First Jordan kicked a long range penalty from just inside the Saudi half within minutes of the kick off, but a driving maul from a line out leading to a try got the Saudis on the front foot and from then on it was always a case of the Jordanians trying to chase them down.
What followed was furious stuff, with the Saudi backs skillfully lead by player coach Vai Mahutakiri, tearing into their opposite numbers on attack. Spreading the ball wide from clean quick 1st phase ball they continually crossed the gain line and frequently found holes in the wider channels, turning the Jordanian defence and allowing their forwards to run onto the ball on 2nd and 3rd phase from a front foot target.
The Jordanians not to be out done also threw the ball around but dual injuries to 13 Teymour Touran (dislocated Clavicle) and 15 Abood Mayher (back Spasm) saw their two most potent backs depart the field within minutes of each other, resulting in a major reshuffle in the Jordanian team to get them through to half time.
The Saudis capitalising on this disorganisation upped the tempo to head into the break 34-3 in the lead.
A far more settled Jordanian side took to the pitch for the second half, stringing multiple phases together and using pick and goes to go through the middle to narrow out the Saudi defence they finally saw the scoreboard again with a well taken try from Ahmed T, however as in the first half the score stung Saudi into life and any hopes of a Jordanian comeback were quickly dismissed with Saudi finally running out 58-10 winners.
While a disappointing result for Jordan, such a young side of home grown talent gaining experience can only be a good thing for the future and with many senior players to come back into the national set there is plenty to build upon.
For Saudi some slick skillful Rugby shows they have plenty to offer Rugby in the region.
Outside of the game we got to see what visiting teams will experience in this year’s Arab Nations Sevens cup (to be held in Amman) with a good crowd of 2-300 spectators and children’s and women’s touch rugby tournaments before the game. Also worth mentioning was the interesting step of having the refs microphone broadcast over loud speaker, educating the crowd while disciplining the players a great initiative.
All in all the day was a hugely positive statement of intent for Jordan Rugby showing there will hopefully be a lot more to come from this emerging nation.
Seif Abaza (Citadel), Manasrah Abood (Nomads), Zaid Kilani (Nomads), Ibrahim Ismigna (Nomads), Alla Jaber (Citadel), Ahmed Hamouqa (Amman Saracens) (Vice Captain),Raakan Abzagh(Citadel), Ahmed Abu Rob (Citadel), Nart Kalimat (Citadel) (Captain), Abudllah Naghaway (Citadel), Anton Demerjian (Nomadsl), Teymour Touran (Citadel) Hrayer Mardirossian (Nomads), Ahmed T’haqwahwa (Citadel), Abood Mayher (Citadel), Amir Teimeh (Citadel), Abdullah Sharkasi (Citadel), Raed Abazagh (Citadel), Zaid Jaber (Nomads) Abed Khalifat (Aqaba Sharks)
Inshasi, Afeef Murad (Nomads), Omar Otay (Citadel)
Colin Stanley, Harold Vonk, Adam Taylor (C), Stefan Johnson, Patrick Raupach, Paul McFadden, Rob Jeffries, Gareth Bell, Paul Smith, Vai Mahutariki (Player Coach), Maxime LeClerq, Sione Sake, Emerson Bessell, Daniel Hartley, Andy Long, Sam Hilton, Nial Higgins, Vincent Mascaro, Brian Stoppard, Adil Matar, Nicholas Finlay, Martin Green, Juan Alcala
Referee: Jesse Lipetz-Robic
Assistant Referees: Mark Cam., Fergus Gillespie.
Full Story by Graham Forbes