Sport | Rugby

Gulf side miss out on World Cup slot

The Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU) women's sevens team finished a disappointing sixth in the recent International Rugby Board Asia World Cup qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

  • Staff Report
  • Published: 00:29 October 9, 2008
  • Gulf News

Dubai: The Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU) women's sevens team finished a disappointing sixth in the recent International Rugby Board Asia World Cup qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

For the team to make the World Cup event in Dubai next year, the Gulf had to earn a top three finish in the Asian leg of qualifying tournaments.

The two-day event at the Hong Kong Football Club was played in wet, windy and stormy conditions that threatened to disrupt the match schedule after typhoon warnings were issued for the island.

The Gulf side got off to a bad start when they lost Doha Oryx back Ann Firth who suffered a leg injury in training 48hours before the Gulf's first match that put her out of the whole tournament.

The injury list got longer after their opening game against Sri Lanka with captain Jenny Thompson, Dubai Exiles utility back Candy Fanucci and speedster Natasha Robinson all leaving the field.

Their 27-17 victory over Sri Lanka was tempered by the fact the decimated team had to face the top ranked nation, China, in their next match.

Sin bin

They began well against China but a sinbinning offence by Kuwait's Sandra Ahrendt put the Gulf side under pressure and China soon took control winning the match comfortably.

The cut throat nature of the event meant that after two matches on the first day the Gulf were already out of the reckoning for a world cup spot leaving them playing for pride during the second day.

In appalling conditions the team battled out a 17-10 win over Singapore and then took on hosts Hong Kong in the Plate Final with a mounting injury list that left them with only seven fit players.

Despite dominating possession, the Gulf were unable to cross the line while Hong Kong managed two breakout scores with tournament top try scorer Aggie Poon claiming both.

Hong Kong took the plate championship with a 12-0 win.

In the final Thailand beat Japan with both teams showing remarkable skills despite the inclement playing conditions.

Team

AGRFU Women's Squad in Hong Kong: Jenny Thompson, Captain (Dubai Hurricanes); Kari Beauchamp (Doha Oryx); Natasha Harradine (Dubai Hurricanes); Lucy Jones (Dubai Exiles); Sandra Ahrendt (Kuwait Nomads); Yon Smith (Dubai Hurricanes); Sorrell Bootham (Brisbane); Candy Fanucci (Dubai Exiles); Natasha Robinson (Bath); Ann Firth (Doha Oryx); Jane Shaw (Sydney); Bridie Johnson (Dubai Hurricanes). Coach: Wayne Marsters. Manager: Richard Harris. Physio: Lacey Congram

Gulf News