North retains Challenge Cup

| 22/12/2009

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Islands Sports, Rugby(CNS): A truly bitter battle between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere rugby nations ended with a close 1 point win to the North and an overall draw in the Challenge Cup series, meaning that the North retains the Challenge Cup for 2010. The much fancied South team arrived at the game unchanged, having beaten their Northern counterparts by a convincing 10 points the previous Saturday, whilst the North chose to field a new younger team. With many young Caymanian players returning home for the holidays, there would be a boost of speed to contain the Southern back line which had time and time again plagued the North in the second test.

According to a release from the Cayman Rugby Football Union (CRFU), the North had the chance to open the scoring early on, but a missed penalty kick was shortly followed by South African fly half Josh Brown, who ran in under the posts virtually unscathed. Brown followed up his try and conversion only moments later with a 30 yard penalty kick to extend the lead to 10-0 to the South.

The North, who were slowly getting into their stride, were able to chip away at the South’s lead by kicking for points when given the opportunity, and by half time the South were clinging to a 1 point lead, having been unable to find the try line again after the opening exchanges.

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Sports, RugbyThe first half gave hints of where the game was heading, having seen 2 penalties for high tackles and 1 for a dangerous tackle, when Fijian Venassio Tokotokovanua escaped the sin bin for not using his arms when putting in a fierce tackle on his opposite number, Bryan Little of Canada.

The second half was marred with more penalties from the South and resulted in the eventual sending off for South African blind side flanker, Shaun Gerrard, for what was to be the last of 4 high tackles in the game. But regardless of the infringements around the pitch, the North kept plugging away and fighting for the lead in the game. The lead finally changed hands when Scotty Forrest, the north scrum half, who had come close to the line on numerous occasions in the game, finally broke free to score under the posts for a converted try to take the score line to 16-10.

Not to be outdone, the South responded with Vanassio Tokotokovanua finding a gap in the North defence to take the Southto within 1 point but the missed conversion was to prove to be the South’s undoing, as the clock ticked down and tempers flared into scuffles forcing the referee to call time on the game with only 60 seconds remaining on the clock. The North, happy with the result, were only let down in terms of points on the board with 2 missed penalty kicks a missed drop goal and a disallowed try, which would have put the game well out of reach for the South.

The rugby continues at the South Sound Rugby pitch on Boxing Day with the annual Presidents vs. Captains select sides kicking off at 3pm. The Boxing Day game is an annual event which should prove to be a much more social game than the bitterly contested Challenge Cup.

Category: Sports

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