Guam – Guam have reached the final of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby Division 3 tournament after grinding out a hard fought win against last year’s finalist Pakistan by 37- 10.
The win was based around a dominant forward pack which applied excellent pressure in both scrums and lineouts, supported by strong control of rucks and smothering defense in the backline.
Coach Hetaraka introduced a trick play – the “Valley” lineout – early in the game. This play, which features all 13 players on the field joining a lineout (which is normally only 7 players) and then pushing the ball carrier over the try line, resulted in Guam’s first try to Chris Sgro.
Sixto Quintella and Basil O’Mallan were dominant against the bigger Pakistan team in the battle of the lineout and were well supported by industrious loose forwards, Rob Leon Guerrero and John Arceo. Guam were able to apply pressure to move the ball wide with Chris Sgro recovering his own clever chip kick and making a great pass to allow Stephen Santos to score out wide. Chris Sgro kicked a penalty to see Guam go into the half time break ahead 13 – 3.
Guam exerted more dominance in the second half playing the game mostly in the Pakistan half. A strong scrum led by front rowers, Leonard Calvo, Brandon O’Mallan and Tony Gilbert set a good platform for Captain Paul Claros to create holes in the Pakistan defense from scrum half. Clever backline play saw Chris Sgro and Randy Mendiola putting the ball in behind the big Pakistan backline, forcing them to continually defend This set up opportunities for Paul Claros and Rob Leon Guerrero to score good tries through strong running down the blindside.
With the match well in hand, John Arceo scored a barn-storming try from the back of the scrum breaking through 3 defenders from 15 meters out to score in the corner and Steven Sablan sealed the result with a try in the closing minutes.
Coach Willie Hetaraka was pleased with the win after a hard day at the office. He was pleased with the team’s application of the game plan and now looks forward to a date with the power of China in the final. He noted “This Guam team plays with tremendous enthusiasm but also has great pride in representing the 180,000 people from our small island against teams from much larger countries. We will bring our talent and ability to the match against the powerful Chinese team on Saturday but our secret weapon will be the pride in representing Guam.”
Guam scoring summary: Tries to Chris Sgro, Stephen Santos, Paul Claros, Rob Leon Guerrero, John Arceo and Steven Sablan. Chris Sgro kicked two conversions and one penalty.
The final kicks off at 4pm local tiem (7pm Guam time) and you can follow the scoring on Twitter at asian5nations.
Information from a press release.