THE Institute of Higher Learning (Institut Pengajian Tinggi/IPT) Sharks took top honours during Sunday’s French Flair Touch Rugby Tournament while Wahine Toa clinched the women’s crown.
The Sharks swam past the New Zealand Association Brunei (NZAB) 7-4 in the men’s final at the Royal Brunei Recreation Club, with Wahine Toa edging Mudsharks 2-1 in their decider.
For Sharks’ captain Hj Mohd Azmiee Hj Mohd Sunny Lai, the win was all the more sweeter considering the team was made up of many fresh faces.
“We had four new players in our team of 11 so we wanted to expose them to tournament rugby,” he said on Monday.
“This was their first real game and the plan is for them to eventually play for us in the Brunei Rugby Football Union (BRFU) League,” he said, adding that the team’s defense won them the game.
NZAB won the last encounter between the two sides, so Sunday’s result should help erase any lingering memories of that loss for Hj Mohd Azmiee and his teammates.
The two teams faced off in a charity touch rugby tournament in April which was held to collect donations for the victims of the Feb 22 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, with all proceeds going towards the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and other initiatives that have been taken to raise money for the cause.
NZAB beat the Sharks 6-2 to clinch the open men’s category and also claimed the open mixed competition after defeating the Belait Pythons 5-2. NZAB made it a hat-trick by cruising past the Mudsharks 6-1 in the open women’s division.
NZAB are the on form team when it comes to touch rugby tournament, having reached the final in at least three events over the past year or so. They fell 3-2 to the Knights Rugby Football Club during last June’s RBRC 2010 Let Autism Touch Your Life Touch Rugby Tournament, but they gave their opponents a run for their money by coming back from a 2-0 deficit at half-time.
Wahine Toa was just as impressive in the same event, beating the Knights women’s team 6-0 for the title.
Though the Mudsharks came out second best on Sunday, Wahine Toa’s Willi-Anne Rowe said there was more to the game than just the scoreline.
“The score was not the important part. It was great to win but being in a competitive skilled game runs a close second for making the day a success,” she said.
“Wahine Toa does have more game experience within the team. However, the improved skills shown by the Mudsharks and the Bandar Blacks was probably the highlight of the women’s section,” stressed Rowe.
The Brunei Times