The Asia Rugby Championship Division 3, East-South Championship began on Sunday, June 23 2019, at the Gelora Bung Karno Rugby Field, Jakarta with the first match between hosts Indonesia playing China.
The GBK Rugby Field was filled with spectators who had also previously watched trial matches between the 7s Men’s Rugby National Stadium and Jakarta clubs.
At 4:00 p.m., the eagerly anticipated match finally commenced.
During the first five minutes, the two teams tried to measure each one’s strengths with breakthrough plays from the forwards along with passing in the backs. After seven very tight minutes, China finally managed to break through the Indonesian defense and scored the first try on the wing through winger Zhou Cong. Five minutes later, number 13 Liu Junkiu scored the second try for China.
Soon after, Indonesia’s debut prop Brilyan Akbar suffered a temple injury and had to be treated off the field. Changes in the composition of the players changed the rhythm of the Indonesian game resulting in a penalty that was successfully converted by China.
In the second part of the first half, Indonesia began to calm their nerves despite China stealing a try in the 32nd minute. Towards the end of this first half, Indonesian team captain Daniel Nugroho managed to score a try for Indonesia which was converted by debutant center Andre Fiksi Gumilang ending the half 7-18 for China.
China immediately stormed by scoring the first try in the 2nd minute of the second half followed by another two minutes later. China scored three additional tries before the 20th minute of the half, taking advantage of their numbers when Indonesia was forced to play with 14 players due to a yellow card.
Indonesia reduced the deficit through a penalty kick, but Chinacontinued to run in points and the game ended with a final score of 10-63 for China.
The Indonesian players who were a combination of debutants and senior players actually played a solid game, but China’s agility, strengthened by the inclusion of their Rugby 7s Asian Games players and the addition of much larger forwards and three naturalized players, made their attacks difficult to defend.
The second match played took place between India and China on Wednesday June 26th at the same field.
Continuing their attacking game, China immediately kicked off by scoring a try in the 2nd minute of the match followed by two tries before the 10th minute.
India could only reply in the 21st minute with a try by number 8, Nitin Dagar.
Although India continued to try to consolidate its game, they failed to capitalize on their momentum and continued to concede turnovers. Through the ability to maintain ball possession accompanied by a brilliant game from number 7 Fu Yingli, number 4 Lu Xiaotong and captain Chen Yongqiang, China added another six tries before the first half closed with 7-57 in China’s favour.
China and India made substitutions in the second half to increase each team’s attack.
India scored two additional tries through captain Vikas Khatri and wing Pappu Todkar but China replied with three tries of their own. The final score of 17-74 for China sealed their win as the Asian Rugby Division 3 East-South Champions. Congratulations China!
Prior to the last game for 2nd position in the division, a Get Into Rugby Festival was held that was attended by more than 500 participants in Greater Jakarta area.
The final match began and India immediately bullied at every breakdown that occurred. They scored a quick try in the 2nd minute but the next could only come eleven minutes later after they had previously scored points from a penalty. India scored another penalty in the 21st minute.
Indonesia’s first points came after a penalty try was awarded by the referee in the 25th minute. India closed the scoring in the first half with a try close to the 28th minute, ending the half 23-7, India leading.
The second half began with a try from India in the 3rd minute. A series of player changes were made by both teams to gain a strategic advantage but India’s defense was too strong to break through.
Although Indonesia continued to attack, India defended well and when in possession of the ball always managed to gain ground. India scored a try in the 20th and 33rd minute to lead 42-7.
Indonesia’s tireless forwards play, led to a try at the end of the match through captain Daniel Nugroho but at the whistle the final score was 42-12 for India.
Despite their two losses, the Indonesian players have shown heart, with the combination of some seniors and new players gathering only a few days before the championship began. We should also appreciate the efforts of the coaching team under the leadership of Bobby Orlando and Subaru Higa, as well as the organizing committee particularly Yudha Ramon, Fikri Al Azhar, Karina S and Hambali who have worked countless hours for the success of this championship.
The road may still be long and challenging for Indonesian Rugby but with an unyielding spirit it can only continue to improve.