Brunei and Laos packs face off in Phnom Penh
via Khmer NZ News Media
Written by Borneo Bulletin
Friday, 25 June 2010
Phnom Penh (Cambodia) - The HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby Series 2010 comes to a close this Saturday with the 29th match played in Asia over the past 11 weeks, according to a press release from HSBC.
Fittingly for what has been a tremendously successful campaign marked by a continuous improvement in the quality of rugby and increasing parity amongst the teams, the HSBC A5N 2010 will come to a close with a finely poised clash between defending regional champion Laos and hosts Cambodia.
The A5N Southeast Asian regional tournament features Laos, Brunei and Cambodia in a round-robin tournament format. The first matches were played on June 20 (Sunday) and 23.Brunei and Cambodia opened the action on Sunday with a tense battle that saw Brunei edge home over the hosts 10-9.
Brunei scored the only try of the match in the 13th minute through centre Jainak with the successful conversion coming from Bruneian flyhalf Petrus Yuan. Brunei added a penalty through winger Ak Moiz PG Ismak late in the first half to bring its tally to 10.
Throughout the match, Cambodia was paced by diminutive playmaking flyhalf and captain Ratana Pich, who scored all of his team's points through three well-taken penalties. At halftime, Brunei led 10-6.
Despite facing a physically larger Brunei side that was itself adjusting to integrating 10 new players in the 24-man squad, Cambodia had a good grasp of the match with the sense that it could close the narrow gap in the second half.
Unfortunately for the hosts, two Cambodian players were sin-binned in the opening moments of the second stanza. Although Cambodia held the line for the sin-bin period, the effort proved too sapping in the long run as the hosts could only manage one more penalty in the second half (again through Ratana Pich).
Pich's successful effort brought his team within one point for the final 15 minutes of the match. But despite the frenzied exhortations of the 500-strong home crowd, the Cambodians could not close the gap and bowed out by a single point.
The opening win put Brunei on the top of the table with 5 points before its crucial match against defending champions Laos. Cambodia figured with one bonus point after a loss within seven points.
In the second match on June 23, Laos showed why they are the defending champions, routing Brunei 23-5.
The results see Laos top the table with five points for their convincing opening round win with a game in hand on Brunei who are tied-first with five points from their opening win over Cambodia. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin