The Indonesian National Men’s Rugby Sevens Team, better known as the Harimau today secured their first ever international victory at the 2013 HSBC Asian Sevens Series at the ‘Singapore Sevens Tournament’, defeating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 27-7 at Yio Chu Kang Sports Complex. National Sevens Coach, Gareth Rae described the win as a“proud moment” and his thoughts were echoed by former National Team Coach, Duncan Hall who posted online “Congratulations to all the Harimau and all Indonesian Rugby supporters. A great win.”
Given the vast size of the Indonesian archipelago it is very difficult for the National Squad to gather together for a training camp prior to touring and this year was no different with the squad assembling in Jakarta only in the week leading up to this tournament. Daniel Nugroho (pictured above) who has spent the past year playing for the University of Queensland Rugby Club in Brisbane, Australia, flew up to join the squad in Singapore.
Indonesia received a late entry into the Singapore Sevens replacing Kazakhstan who pulled out of the tournament. This was not missed by commentator Deano Herewini who commented that with more financial support Indonesia could be a regular participant at future HSBC Asian Sevens Series, which includes annual tournaments in Malaysia, India, Thailand and Singapore.
Indonesia faced a baptism of fire on Saturday coming up against highly fancied teams in the Philippines who earlier this year played in the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Russia and the rising stars from Sri Lanka. The Philippines defeated Indonesia 39-0 and Sri Lanka recorded a 43-0 win.
The Harimau faced Singapore earlier today in a Bowl Semi Final losing 29-0, which then sent them into the 11th/12th Place Playoff with the UAE, who lost their Bowl Semi Final against Thailand 36-0.
The stage was set for an even contest between Indonesia and the UAE, however the Harimau had other ideas when Ari Yudha Pramono, better known as Yucil crossed for an early try to see Indonesian lead 5-0. A charge down the left hand sideline saw Daniel Nugroho denied a try due to a penalty being awarded to the UAE. Tough defensive work by Mark Thompson and Daniel Nugroho from the ensuing penalty saw the UAE turn over the ball leading to a penaly being awarded to the Harimau. Quick thinking by Scott Atkinson saw Florian Busi cross the try line for a 10-0 lead and a late try before halftime saw Indonesia going to the halftime break leading 15-0.
Shortly after the halftime interval some quick thinking by Harimau halfback Yucil saw Yohannes Musi cross out wide to give Indonesia a commanding 20-0 lead which soon became 22-0 following a conversion. The Harimau weren’t finished troubling the scoreboard attendant when once again the speedy Harimau halfback Yucil took a quick tap and passed the ball wide to Scott Atkinson who sprinted 25m to take Indonesia to a match-winning score of 27-0. The UAE crossed for a converted try on the bell, but the match clearly belonged to Indonesia who ran out victors for the first time ever in an international match by 27-7.
Following the final match, Harimau Captain, Stevie Haurissa commented, “The boys dug deep and did a hell of a job.”
For a full replay of the match please go to YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5GfiJQYufA
Indonesian Rugby plans to promote this victory through more domestic Rugby Sevens tournament for men and women of all ages in the future as a way of ensuring more future international triumphs for Indonesia.